Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 12.546 in 2019; Deaths Reach 407
Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 12,546 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through10 April, a 22% decrease from the 16,218 arriving during the same period last year. Arrivals to both Spain and Greece stand at close 5880 each, with the balance arriving in much smaller numbers to Italy, Malta and Cyprus. Deaths on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 101 days of 2018 are at 407 individuals—or about three-quarters of the 558 deaths that occurred during the same period in 2018. (see chart below)
IOM joined the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and UNICEF to express serious concern over the situation of the 62 migrants and refugees rescued on 3 April by the Alan Kurdi, a vessel operated by NGO Sea Eye. Those individuals by late Thursday had still not been guaranteed a safe port for disembarkation.
According to IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo, in the last three days two women had been disembarked from the ship – which is currently off the coast of Malta – including one who is pregnant and who reportedly suffered an epileptic fit on Thursday. Her husband apparently remans on board.
Weather conditions and the many days spent at sea are making the situation difficult for those on board. Further, all the migrants and refugees who departed from Libya already have experienced being victims of serious human rights violations.
“The Agencies reaffirm the absolute priority of saving lives at sea and guaranteeing safe and timely disembarkation,” IOM affirmed in the joint statement, adding “The situation in Libya makes it absolutely necessary to establish disembarkation mechanisms that are predictable and in line with all international conventions, under which the North African country cannot be considered a safe port.”
IOM Greece Veatriki Aravani reported on Thursday (12/04) that since last Friday, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) performed at least three incidents requiring search and rescue operation off the islands of Chios and Lesvos. The HCG rescued a total of 96 migrants and transferred them to those respective ports.
Those arrivals were among some 175 IOM recorded in the days between 04 and 09 April arriving at the islands of Lesvos, Samos and Oinouses and bringing to 5,796 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year. (see chart below).
Missing Migrants Project
2019 is the sixth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project (MMP).
Since the beginning of 2014, the Project has recorded the deaths of 31,690 people, including 731 in 2019. Due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and the contexts of their deaths, the true number of fatalities during migration is likely much higher. Therefore, MMP records should only be viewed as indicative, rather than representative across time or geography.
The waters of the Aegean Sea became the site of a tragic loss of life over the past weekend, when an 8-year-old Syrian child was found dead in the boat in which he was travelling with 41 other people to the Greek island of Lesvos from Dikili, in Turkey’s Izmir province. At least 15 people have lost their lives trying to reach Greece by sea in 2019, including seven children.
Several deaths were recorded on the US-Mexico border over the past few days. On 5 April, a man died in a vehicle accident in Laredo, Texas. He was found with fatal injuries after the van in which he was travelling with 11 others crashed while fleeing US Border Patrol agents in Highway 83. A similar incident cost the lives of two people the following day (06/04), when a van carrying 11 migrants overturned near mile marker 131 on New Mexico’s State Road 9 after a high-speed chase by USBP agents. Two people died in that crash, while nine were injured.
The unpredictable currents of the Río Bravo cost the life of a 30-year-old man who attempted the crossing from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas to Texas. His remains were found on 5 April by Mexican civil protection authorities. Additionally, a man drowned in Briar Canal, around seven miles east of the Calexico Port of Entry in Imperial County, California. He was travelling with his brother, who alerted local authorities. Tragically, he was unresponsive when he was rescued from the canal and was pronounced dead on 8 April.
In Mexico, a 15-year-old Guatemalan teen fell from the freight train in which he was travelling north to the US and was killed near the municipality of Nopala de Villagrán, Hidalgo on 7 April.
In the first three months of 2019, the Missing Migrants Project has recorded the deaths of 190 people during migration in the Americas.
Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff based at its Global Migration Data Analysis Centre but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on migrants deaths and disappearances are collected, click here.
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