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17 February 2016

Migrants arriving in Piraeus, Greece, last week. Thousands of others do not survive the journey. Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images.

Counting the Missing Migrants

New technology and better cooperation can account for the dead, taking their families out of limbo, write IOM Director General William Lacy Swing and Director General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) Katheryne Bomberger in The Wall Street Journal.

Last year IOM tallied a record number of 5,350 migrants reported missing or dead on the world’s many migratory routes. The real figure is probably much higher. That is because many migrant deaths, especially those occurring in remote border regions of the world, are never recorded.

Tens of thousands go missing on journeys across inhospitable terrain, on the high seas aboard unsuitable and overcrowded vessels, and crossing dangerous borders often at the mercy of human-smuggling gangs. The fault lines between the developed and developing worlds have become dying zones. Victims, if they are found, often lack identification documents—sometimes they are missing teeth, limbs and skin.

In many cases, the bodies of missing migrants are never found at all. A recent review of 3,000 cases in Europe between 1990 and 2013 revealed that fewer than half of all bodies found were identified. Thousands of families around the world are living in limbo, not knowing whether their loved ones are alive or dead.

Read on

Samantha visits a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan to get to the bottom of whatever it is these people are up to.

Syrian Refugees Part 1 | Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

Canadian-American comedian and former Daily Show correspondent Samantha Bee offers her unique take on the Syrian refugee crisis and the reaction of some in the US to refugee resettlement. In a two-part series for her new  programme Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, she visits camps in Jordan, meets the refugees and talks to the agencies involved in resettlement. The picture that emerges of who is being resettled, why and how the process works is very funny and systematically demolishes popular myths of the  threats posed by ordinary people fleeing a war in search of a better life.      

Watch the video



Migration in the News

  • Xinhua, n-tv, WAZ, FOCUS Online, Huffington Post Deutschland, TAZ,  Handelsblatt, Die Welt, Tagesspiegel reported  IOM estimates of 84,000 migrant and refugee arrivals and 410 deaths in the Mediterranean in 2016.
  • Voice of America reported that the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has appealed to European leaders to keep their borders open for migrants and refugees.
  • Thomson Reuters reported that European Parliament rapporteur for Turkey Kati Piri said that the migration crisis has led the European Union to turn an apparent blind eye to rights abuses in Turkey, because the EU needs Turkey’s help to reduce the migrant influx.
  • New Europe reported that President of the European Council Donald Tusk said that the risk of an EU break up is real and described the refugee crisis and the UK’s possible exit from the union as the greatest challenges.

Trending on the Internet

  • The Guardian reported that Fire at Sea, an unsentimental documentary by Italian director Gianfranco Rosi, looks at the despair of people on the Italian island of Lampedusa as they struggle to deal with an influx of desperate refugees from North Africa.

Media Contacts

For comment / interviews on today's news, please go to the contact(s) listed at the end of each press briefing note.
For other information please contact the IOM Media & Communications team here