Italy + 16 more

Italy – Sea Arrivals UNHCR Update #5 (January 2016)

Situation Report
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  • 5,270 Persons arriving by sea in January 2016.
  • 153,840 Persons arriving by sea in 2015
  • 129 Sea arrivals originating from Eritrea, the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq and the Central African Republic in January 2016.
  • 51% Average EU asylum, subsidiary and humanitarian protection rate of top nationalities arriving by sea in Italy in 2015
  • 83,200 Asylum applications in 2015 (including from sea and other arrivals).
  • 645 Unaccompanied and Separated Children (UASC) arrived by sea in January 2016.
  • 257 Asylum seekers relocated from Italy under the EU relocation scheme since …2015.
  • 18 UNHCR staff positioned at key arrival points.


  • 5,270 individuals arrived by sea to Italy in January 2016. This number is considerable higher than in the same period in 2015 when 3,528 and January 2014 when 2,171 arrived. Arrival trends for January include the continuous decrease of Syrians arriving by sea and the steady proportional increase of Nigerians.
  • At the end of December 2015, the total number of arrivals stood at 153,842 persons, compared to 170,100 in 2014 at the same time, corresponding to a 10% decrease.
  • In January 2016, 67 asylum-seekers were relocated to Finland, Netherlands and Belgium under the EU relocation scheme. Since the decisions of the European Council entered into force, 257 persons were relocated from Italy. One additional hotspot became operational in Pozzallo in January. The facility has a capacity of up to 300 places.
  • In January 2016, UNHCR counted 229 persons who were served with a return decree after their arrival in Lampedusa, many of them from refugees producing countries such as Somalia
  • On 30 January, the bodies of five women and one man were retrieved and disembarked in Taranto. The six persons lost their lives following a shipwreck off the coasts of Libya on 27 January; 76 persons were rescued, while reportedly some 70 went missing.


By the end of January 2016, 5,273 persons arrived to Italy by sea, corresponding to a 45% decrease compared to December 2015. In 2015, the total number of refugees and migrants arriving by sea was 153,842, corresponding to a 10% decrease compared to 2014. The overall decrease of arrivals can be partially explained by the significant drop of Syrian arrivals, who are now primarily using the Eastern Mediterranean route to reach Europe. Key disembarkation points are ports in Sicily and Apulia, which have been identified as hotspots in Italy’s Rod Map: Augusta (27%), Pozzallo (23%), Lampedusa (21%), Trapani (14%) and Taranto (5%). UNHCR field staff was present during all phases of disembarkation procedures, providing support to local authorities in identifying vulnerable cases and information on international protection and the EU relocation scheme. In January 2016, UNHCR counted 229 persons who were served with a return decree, after their arrivals in Lampedusa. This included persons who originate from countries with a high refugee recognition rate, such as Somalia. The office raised concerns with regard to the verification of the nationality during the disembarkation procedures, specifically in cases of persons declaring to be Eritreans but assessed and registered as Ethiopians. Some 360 refugees and migrants are estimated to have died or were reported missing this year, whilst trying to reach European shores. This death toll includes some 70 persons perished in the shipwreck occurred off Libya’s coasts on the 27th of January. Last year, 3,771 persons have lost their lives or gone missing in the Mediterranean Sea, the deadliest year on record.