Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 27,834 in 2019; Deaths Reach 597

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 27,834 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 1 May, roughly a 35 per cent decrease from the 42,274 arriving during the same period last year. Arrivals this year to Spain and Greece combine to account for 82 per cent of the region’s irregular sea landings, with the balance arriving in much smaller proportions to Italy, Malta and Cyprus.  

Arrivals to Greece have surpassed in 2019 those at this time last year. Arrivals to Spain are lower, with Spain’s totals having fallen considerably since the surge of January and early February (see charts below). 

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 177 days of 2019 are at 597 individuals – or about half the 1,189 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018.



According to IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo, the migrant rescue ship “Sea-Watch 3” defied this week an order not to enter Italian waters. Captain Carola Rackete reportedly decided to defy a ban, saying she had no choice because 42 migrants on board – who have been at sea since they were rescued off Libya two weeks ago – could no longer withstand their condition. 

As of late Thursday, the “Sea-Watch 3” remained anchored outside the port of Lampedusa. 

Di Giacomo also cited official Ministry of Interior figures of 2,544 migrants who have arrived by sea to Italy in 2019.  That total, through almost six months, is less than the total recorded for all all but two single months between January 2016 and (see chart below) and June 2018, as well as during all months during the years 2014-2015.  

IOM Spain 

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported on Thursday sea arrivals to Spain, through 26 June have reached 9,478 men, women and children.  That’s an average of almost 54 persons per day, compare to last year, through June 30, of just over 83 people per day. While monthly arrivals to Spain are lower this year over all (see chart below), fatalities on the Western Mediterranean route remain high – with 201 deaths reported through nearly six months of this year.  

See chart here

The distribution of arrivals per entry point (January – 26 June 2019) is as shown in the chart below

IOM Greece 

IOM Greece’s Christine  Nikolaidou reported on Thursday that over the past week, since 25 June, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) was involved in at least nine incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos, Samothraki, Farmakonisi, Symi, Chios, Leros and Kos. The HCG rescued a total of 182 migrants and transferred them to the respective ports. 

Those arrivals, plus another 208 arrivals IOM recorded during the three days ending 26 June, bring to 13,383 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. Since the beginning of 2014, the project has recorded the deaths of 32,199 individuals, including 1,242 in 2019 (see chart below). 

Due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and the contexts of their deaths, the true number of lives lost during migration is likely much higher. Missing Migrants Project records should only be viewed as indicative of the risks associated with migration, rather than representative of the true number of deaths across time or geography.   

This past week the Missing Migrants Project recorded the deaths of 26 people: 14 in the US-Mexico border, 10 in Turkey, and two women in Mexico hit by a train.  
In the Mexican State of Hidalgo, a Honduran migrant woman was hit by a train, and another woman, who is yet to be identified was killed by a train further south, in the state of Tabasco.  
On the US-Mexico border, four of the deaths recorded this week were people who drowned trying to cross the river that divides the two countries, the Rio Grande, including Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez, the 25-year-old Salvadoran, and Valeria, his 23-month-old daughter. Their story has highlighted the perils of migration around the globe this week.  

In total, at least 416 people have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019, compared with 265 recorded through this point in 2018.  

In Edrine Province Turkey, on the border of Greece, a van crashed resulting in 30 injured and 10 dead Pakistani and Indian migrants. Gendarmerie troops who were patrolling the area requested the driver to stop the vehicle, but he tried to escape and lost control of the van. The injured were taken to local hospitals, and the driver was detained after receiving medical treatment. 

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

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, click here. Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project

See contacts here