Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 314,003; Deaths at Sea: 3,610

Italy - IOM reports that 314,003 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 through 5 October, arriving mostly in Greece and Italy. Some 167,446 people have arrived in Greece and 142,725 in Italy during 2016. The total is well below the number of arrivals at this point in 2015, by which some 518,181 migrants and refugees had made the journey.

However, the death toll in 2016 is higher. This year some 3,610 people have drowned or been reported missing in incidents off Egypt, Libya, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Morocco and Spain. In 2015 at this time, the total was 3,029. For the whole of 2015, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project calculated 3,673 people were confirmed dead or missing. 

IOM Rome reported Thursday that 11,432 migrants were rescued in the Channel of Sicily this week. After the peak arrivals of Monday (6,000) and Tuesday (5,000), arrivals slowed by mid-week. On Wednesday just 363 migrants were rescued. Some 38 bodies were recovered, including 22 victims of asphyxiation.

So far in 2016 the Italian Ministry of Interior has registered 142,725 arrivals by sea, up 6 percent from the same time last year.

“Migration flows towards Italy have remained essentially unaltered compared to 2015,” said Federico Soda, Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean in Rome.

“The peak of rescues at sea in the past couple of days does not imply that arrivals have increased substantially: in recent times we have seen sudden surges in arrivals like this from North Africa.  After days of relatively few arrivals, there are a few days with many migrants at sea, that make rescue operations and assistance particularly challenging. The short-term surges give the perception of an overall increase, but in fact the overall trend remains largely unchanged.”

“We also noted an increase in West African nationalities. Often these are people who leave their country of origin without a specific destination. Libya is where many are smuggled to and the majority of migrants there face extreme violence and abuse. Some, scared for their lives, decide to continue their journey to Europe,” he added.

The Channel of Sicily is currently the deadliest border in the world: 3,610 people died while crossing the Mediterranean in 2016. Out of these, 3,134 died to reach Italy, according to IOM’s Missing Migrants Project. 

“The increase in deaths in the Mediterranean this year is concerning for two reasons. First, this year is on track to see an unprecedented number of deaths. In 2016 we have recorded almost 20 percent more deaths and disappearances at sea compared to this time last year. Second, this year has seen a continuation of the trend of huge numbers of deaths that began in 2014,” said project coordinator Julia Black.

“In each year since 2014, we have seen more than 3,000 deaths in the Mediterranean. This is about five times more each year compared to the 600 or so who died in 2013. The regularity of these high death tolls gives no indication that conditions are becoming safer for those who try to cross the Mediterranean,” she added.


Mediterranean Developments

Total arrivals by sea and deaths in the Mediterranean 2015-2016


1 January – 5 October 2016 1 January – 30 September 2015

Country of Arrival







(Central Med. route)


2,926 (all Med routes)



(Eastern Med. route)






(as of 31 August)

62 (Western Med route)


Estimated Total





Since Monday, authorities have recovered 80 bodies. IOM's Missing Migrants Project has recorded over 100 fatalities since last Thursday. (See chart below)



No. Dead

No. Missing



29 Sept



Off the coast of Bodrum, Muğla, Turkey

IOM Turkey

3 Oct



Unspecified location at least 12 km from Libyan coast

IOM Italy

3 Oct



Unspecified location off the coast of Garabulli, Libya

IOM Libya

3 Oct



Unspecified location off the coast of Sabratha, Libya

Anadolu Agency

3 Oct



Body found on Avlaki beach on Ikaria, Greece

IOM Greece

4 Oct



Unspecified location between Libya and Italy

IOM Italy







On Thursday IOM Athens reported that on Tuesday (4/10) Greek authorities announced that 214 migrants crossed into Greece across the Evros river on the Greek-Turkish land border. Another 372 migrants arrived by sea between 3-5 October. The largest group of 167 arrived on the island of Chios on Monday (3/10).

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic: Mediterranean_Update_7_October_2016.pdf
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:
Learn more about Missing Migrants Project at:

For further information please contact:
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: 
IOM Greece: Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email:  or Kelly Namia, Tel: +30 210 9919040, +30 210 9912174, Email: 
Julia Black at IOM’s Missing Migrants Project, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Mazen Aboulhosn at IOM Turkey, Tel: +9031245-51202, Email:
Joel Millman at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41.79.103-8720, Email:
IOM Libya: Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email:  or Ashraf Hassan, Tel: +216297 94707, Email:
Christine Beshay, IOM Egypt. Tel: + 20 2 273 651 40/1 Email:

For information or interview requests in French:
Florence Kim, OIM Genève, Tel: +41 79 103 03 42, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo, OIM Italie, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: