Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 26,026 in 2018; Deaths Reach 635
Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 26,026 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through the first 136 days of 2018, with about 41 per cent arriving in Italy and 38 per cent to Greece, with the remainder (21%) arriving in Spain.
This compares with 55,479 arrivals across the region through the same period last year and about 189,075 at this time in 2016.
In other words: Mediterranean arrivals at this point in 2018 are running at under half last year’s level on this date, and about 14 per cent of 2016’s volume at this point in the year.
IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo noted that the 10,659 migrants who are registered as having arrived by sea to Italy this year is 77 per cent less than that reported last year in the same period, when 45,785 irregular migrants and refugees arrived in Italy and a 67 per cent decline from the 32,292 arriving to this point in 2016 (see chart below).
IOM Rome also noted Tunisians represent the largest nationality group arriving in Italy by sea from North Africa this year, followed by Eritreans, Nigerians, Sudanese, Pakistan, Malians, Guineans and Senegalese – almost all of whose arrival numbers have fallen considerably below totals reported in the recent years (see chart below).
IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reported on Thursday (17 May) that in the Mediterranean alone, 635 migrants are estimated to have died this year. Most recently, seven people lost their lives when trying to cross from Turkey to Greece. The Turkish Coast Guard reported that seven Afghan migrants, including three children, died when the boat in which they were trying to reach the Greek island of Lesvos capsized off the coast of Babakale, in Turkey’s province of Çanakkale, on 14 May.
This incident took place a day after the remains of nine migrants washed up on the shores of Northern Cyprus. Since the beginning of 2018, 35 people have lost their lives in the Eastern Mediterranean.
To date this year the 383 drownings on the Central Mediterranean route linking North Africa to Italy has been the region’s deadliest sea crossing, while 217 have died in the waters separating North Africa from Spain.
In Spanish waters, so far this year, IOM Madrid’s Ana Dodevska reported Thursday that a total of 1,392 migrants have been rescued on the Western Mediterranean route through 16 days in May – compared with 835 for the entire month of May last year. That brings to 5,792 the total number of men, women and children who have been rescued trying to enter Spain by sea this year, with an additional 1,822 seeking entry by land (see charts below).
IOM Greece’s Kelly Namia reported Thursday that over the past three days, the Hellenic Coast Guard reported at least three incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos and Kos. The Coast Guard rescued 169 migrants and transferred them to those islands.
Namia reported that along with other landings on Lesvos and Leros another 67 migrants landed in the Aegean these four days bringing to 9,528 the total number of irregular migrants entering Greece via sea since January 1 – for an average of around 72 persons per day.
April saw 3,083 migrant arrivals via the Eastern Mediterranean. Already 1,263 irregular migrants have landed on these shores in May – just 12 days into the month (see charts below).
Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 1,118 people who died or went missing while migrating in 2018 (see chart below).
On the US-Mexico border, a man of unconfirmed nationality drowned in the Río Bravo near Matamoros, Mexico on 11 May. Two days after, on 13 May, the body of another migrant was recovered by Mexican civil protection authorities in the same area. At least 25 people have drowned in the Río Bravo this year.
In Europe, the remains of a 21-year-old Nigerian woman were found on 9 May in the Durance river, along the dangerous route from Italy to France that crosses the Alps.
Additionally, the MMP team recorded two other deaths on land routes in Europe: the IOM office in Croatia informed of the deaths of two migrants which took place at the end of April in the Kolpa and Korana rivers, on the border with Slovenia.
Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff 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.
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int
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