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Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 16,806 in 2019; Deaths Reach 410

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Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 16,806 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 1 May, roughly a 25 per cent decrease from the 22,439 arriving during the same period last year. Arrivals to both Spain and Greece are each between 7,500 and 8,000 individuals, with the balance arriving in much smaller numbers this year to Italy, Malta and Cyprus. Arrivals to Greece are lower in 2019 than those at this time last year. Arrivals to Spain are higher, although Spain’s totals have fallen considerably since the surge of January and early February.

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 120 days of 2019 are at 410 individuals – or about two-thirds of the 616 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018 (see chart below).

IOM Italy

According to IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo, citing official Ministry of Interior figures, 812 migrants have arrived by sea to Italy in 2019. That total, through four months, is less than the total recorded for almost any single month between January 2016 and (see chart below) and November 2018, as well as during all the months of 2014 and 2015.

IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou said on Thursday (2/05) that over the past week, since 25 April, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) reported at least ten incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Chios, Lesvos, Samos, Farmakonisi and Sifnos. The HCG rescued a total of 190 migrants and transferred them to those respective ports.

Those arrivals were among some 175 IOM recorded during those days, bringing to 7,547 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year.

Missing Migrants Project

2019 is the sixth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project.

Since the beginning of 2014, the project has recorded the deaths of 31,776 individuals, including 817 in 2019 (see chart below), although due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and the contexts of their deaths, the true number of lives lost during migration is likely much higher. Missing Migrants Project records should only be viewed as indicative of the risks associated with migration, rather than representative of the true number of deaths across time or geography. 

In Morocco, 18 people from sub-Saharan Africa were killed in a car accident on Saturday (27/04) after their car fell into a canal while travelling from Saida to Nador. Another 28 were injured, including two men with serious injuries who were transferred to the university hospital in Oujda Saturday evening. Reports from the Moroccan Association for Human Rights in Nador indicate that several women are among the dead, as well as a father who is survived by his two children. In Ceuta, the Spanish enclave in Northern Africa, a 24-year-old Moroccan man died from his wounds after being stabbed in the Port of Ceuta on 29 April. He had just crossed the border two days before with the aim of reaching mainland Spain. He leaves behind five siblings and his parents.

At least 53 people have lost their lives during migration across the Americas in April, including 23 Venezuelans who drowned on 24 April while attempting to sail to Trinidad and Tobago. Another 21 people have died attempting to cross the United States-Mexico border in April. Most recently, five people drowned in different areas of the Rio Grande/Río Bravo: the remains of an unidentified person were recovered on the US side of the border, near Eagle Pass, while the remains of four men were retrieved by Mexican civil protection authorities near Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas and Piedras Negras, Coahuila. On 25 April, a 54-year-old Mexican man was killed in a car accident while being pursued by the US Border Patrol in California. A few days later, the body of a man was found inside a freight train in the Eagle Pass train station, in Texas – it is believed he died inside a train carriage crushed by cargo.

Additionally, nine people lost their lives while transiting through Central America and Mexico during the month of April. A 31-year-old Honduran man died of unknown causes on 23 April while travelling in the migrant caravan in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. Another three Honduran men who were migrating as part of the caravan were shot and killed in Tabasco, Mexico, on the same day. On 26 April, a Guatemalan man died in a hospital in Calpulalpan, Mexico from injuries he suffered in a car accident which took place on the Federal Highway México-Veracruz, near Hueyotlipan, Tlaxcala, Mexico. Fifteen others were injured but survived the crash. A 23-year-old man from El Salvador died of a heart attack while riding on top of a freight train on 28 April.

In total, at least 240 people have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019, compared with 163 recorded through this point in 2018.

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff based at its Global Migration Data Analysis Centre but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on migrants’ deaths and disappearances are collected, click here.

See chart here

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, click here. Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project.

See contacts here.