Migrant, Refugee Deaths at Sea Pass 3,000 as Arrivals Near 250,000

Italy - IOM reports an estimated 249,854 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 through 24 July, arriving mostly in Italy and Greece. The 250,000 total is likely to be surpassed in the next few hours as recently rescued migrants reach Italian shores.

According to IOM estimates, the latest discovery of 39 bodies washed up on Libyan shores this week brings the number of casualties to over 3,034 among the migrants and refugees who attempted to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe in 2016. This year’s total so far, is significantly higher compared to last year as of end of July 2015, when 1,917 had lost their lives at sea.

At the same time, the total number of arrivals by sea in Europe is only slightly higher than the same period in 2015 (with nearly the same number of arrivals registered in Italy).  

One of the reasons behind the increase in migrant deaths is linked to the exceptional flow of arrivals and the high number of migrants – about 1,000 victims over a tragic few days – lost at sea in the last week of May 2016.

In that period, the shipwrecks involved bigger vessels with hundreds of people on board, unlike the usual dinghies that can carry only approximately up to a hundred. As a result those few accidents, like the shipwreck that claimed the lives of 500 migrants and a similar accident resulting in 250 victims, added to the deadly total of 3,000 being reached much earlier than in previous years. This means that for the third straight year IOM will report migration fatalities of at least 3,000 men, women and children on these dangerous sea routes.

“Despite the constant and increased patrolling of the Mediterranean, it has proved extremely difficult to reduce the number of victims. Sometimes it has taken only a few shipwrecks to cause hundreds of casualties,” said IOM Rome Spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo.

But he added that without the presence and the outstanding work of the Italian and international ships that save hundreds of lives every day, the number of missing migrants would almost certainly be much higher.

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

1 Jan – 24 July 2016

1 Jan – 30 July 2015

 Country of Arrival







(Central Med. route)


(all Med routes)



(Eastern Med. route)







(Western Med and Western African routes)


Estimated Total





Data on deaths of migrants compiled by Missing Migrants ProjectAll numbers are minimum estimates. Arrival estimates based on data from respective governments and IOM field offices.
* Official figures provided by Italian Ministry of Interior
**As of 31 May

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic, please go to:

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:
Abby Dwommoh at IOM Turkey, Tel: +903124551202, Email:
Amr Taha at IOM Egypt. Tel: +202-27365140, Email:
Itayi Viriri at IOM Geneva, Tel: +, Email:
IOM Libya. Othman Belbeisi, Tel +216 29 600389, Email: or Ashraf Hassan, Tel: +216297 94707, Email: