Switzerland - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) reports that 73,189 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 11 June, with almost 85 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 211,433 arrivals across the region through 11 June 2016.
IOM Rome spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo reported that since Friday, when IOM last released figures, over 3,000 migrants and refugees have been rescued between Europe and the North African coast, numbers that are not reflected in the official numbers shared by Italian authorities as not all those men, women and children have arrived in port.
Di Giacomo said on Monday that over the weekend, 2,942 migrants were rescued by the joint efforts of NGOs and Italian and international military ships. He added that on Monday a Swedish ship operating under Operation Triton rescued 356 migrants at sea from three dinghies and brought them to Catania. The 79 survivors on one of them had partially sunk and at least 61 migrants who had been on board remain missing at sea. Eight bodies (two men and six women) were also recovered from that same dinghy. At least one other victim was reported in a separate incident, whose remains were brought to Palermo.
IOM Rome also reported the breakdown of main arrivals to Italy by nationality through the end of May (see chart below). Nigerians (9,286 men, women and children) comprised the number one nationality – as they had a year ago – with Bangladeshis (7,106) in second place. The next eight countries were: Guinea (5,960), Cote d’Ivoire (5,657), the Gambia (4,011), Senegal (3,935), Morocco (3,327), Mali (3,150), Eritrea (2,344) and Sudan (2,327).
The arrivals from Eritrea, Sudan, and the Gambia are down from 2016 – even though overall arrivals to Italy by sea have risen – while those from Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Morocco, Mali and Guinea are all up. In the case of Bangladesh, the increase is from 20 recorded arrivals at this point in 2016 to over 7,000 this year. Through all of 2016, just over 8,000 Bangladeshis made this same journey to Italy from Africa – a level nearly reached this year after only five months.
IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported that a Bangladeshi man was among the individuals rescued off Libya last Friday (9 June) when 380 migrants (347 men, 30 women, three children) in three rubber boats were discovered at sea off Azzawya, Libya. During the rescue mission, an armed conflict between the smugglers and the Libyan Coast Guard led to the death of the Bangladeshi migrant and the injury of two other migrants as well as one member of the Libyan Coast Guard.
IOM’s Petré further reported that on Saturday (10 June), 438 migrants (66 women, 368 men and four children) were rescued at sea from four boats off Sabratha by the Libyan Coast Guard. She said four Libyan men were among the migrants. Also in the afternoon of 10 June, eight bodies (all men) were recovered in a boat drifting to shore near Garaboli, east of Tripoli, by the Libyan Red Crescent. IOM is investigating whether other passengers on that boat – possibly as many as 120 – may have drowned.
This morning IOM Libya reported that on Monday the remains of two African men were retrieved from the fishing nets of local fishermen in Garaboli, east of Tripoli.
IOM Libya reports the total number of rescued migrants off the Libya coast so far in 2017 is 9,111, with the remains of 246 migrants recovered.
Worldwide, the IOM Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reports that there have been 2,524 fatalities through 11 June (see chart below) with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths – over 70 per cent of the global total.
In recent days MMP researchers have recorded the following incidents: 70 deaths in the Central Mediterranean since Friday (among them, 61 missing, nine bodies taken to Italy); two bodies recovered off the coast of Almeria, Spain (Western Mediterranean), and one death due to a train accident near Tattenhausen, Germany. MMP also added the death of one man found alongside train tracks near the city of Tres Valles in Mexico’s coastal state of Veracruz.
Tres Valles was also the site of the discovery last October of more than 60 migrants found abandoned in the cargo container of a truck. Six men – from Guatemala and Ecuador – were reported to have died in that incident. The latest victim, identified as Juan Carlos González of Guatemala, suffered massive head wounds.