TRENDS AND KEY FIGURES
Over 19,900 refugees and migrants arrived in Europe via the three Mediterranean routes in September 2019. In the first nine months of the year, the number of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe by these three routes dropped by 21% from 102,700 in 2018 to 81,000 in 2019. Most refugees and migrants entering Europe via the Mediterranean routes this year did so via Greece.
Greece: In September, some 12,500 people arrived by sea and land. This is the highest number of monthly arrivals since the Turkey-EU Statement was introduced in March 2016. In the first nine months of 2019, some 46,100 refugees and migrants arrived in Greece by land and sea, 24% more than the same period in 2018 (37,300). Some 38% of those who have arrived by sea in Greece so far in 2019 have been from Afghanistan, along with 25% from the Syrian Arab Republic and 8% from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Spain: In the first nine months of 2019, some 23,400 refugees and migrants arrived in Spain, 46% less than the same period in 2018 (43,200). Sea arrivals (51% less) have decreased more than arrivals at the enclaves (10% less). In the first nine months of 2019, most people arriving in Spain were from Morocco (30%), Mali (14%), Guinea (13%), Côte d’Ivoire (11%) and Senegal (8%).
Italy: Some 7,600 refugees and migrants arrived by sea in Italy in the first nine months of 2019, a 64% decrease from 21,000 in the same period of 2018. Sea arrivals departing from Libya have decreased by 84% to 1,900 in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period of 2018, while the number of people crossing from Tunisia (mostly Tunisians) has also dropped by 39% to 3,100 in the first nine months of 2019.
While in previous years the vast majority of people arriving by sea to Italy had departed from Libya, in the nine months of 2019 around 25% of people who reached Italy by sea departed from Libya, 40% from Tunisia, 18% from Turkey, 9% from Algeria and 7% from Greece.
Malta: So far this year, some 2,700 refugees and migrants have arrived in Malta by sea after departing from Libya (compared to 780 during the same period of 2018). Some 75% of sea arrivals to Malta in 2019 were rescued in the Maltese Search and Rescue Region, almost all by the Armed Forces of Malta.
Cyprus: In the first nine months of 2019, some 1,500 refugees and migrants arrived in Cyprus by sea, compared with the same period in 2018 when 400 arrived. In the first nine months of 2019, most people arriving in Cyprus by sea were from the Syrian Arab Republic, Cameroon and Nigeria.
Western Balkans: In Serbia UNHCR and partners observed and assisted 3,700 asylum-seekers and migrants, who newly arrived in September, the highest number of irregular monthly arrivals since February 2016. UNHCR and partners counselled over 2,500 potential asylum-seekers on asylum at over thirty sites throughout the country. UNHCR project lawyers assisted 323 persons, including 18 unaccompanied and separated children (UASC), to apply for asylum in Serbia and represented 465 asylum-seekers in substantive asylum procedures.
In North Macedonia, a daily average of 169 new arrivals (5,100 individuals) was observed by UNHCR and partners during September (25% more than the average of 135 per day in August), primarily arriving from Greece and most people reported coming from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. At the end of September approximately 7,400 asylum seekers and migrants were estimated to be in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most people reported coming from Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh and smaller percentages from Iraq, Iran, Syria, or Algeria.
Push-backs continue to be widely reported across the region, including the use of violence, while at least 24 people are known to have died along the route so far this year, including while trying to hide in vehicles to cross borders and drowning in border rivers.
Dead and missing: In the first nine months of 2019, just over 1,000 people are believed to have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean sea on their way to Europe. The majority of deaths took place in the Central Mediterranean where 660 people were believed to have died.