Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 72,263 in 2019; Deaths Reach 1,041

IOM reports that 72,263 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 2 October, roughly a 14 per cent decrease from the 84,345 arriving during the same period last year.

Arrivals this year to Greece and Spain are at 39,155 and 17,405, respectively (56,560 combined), accounting for about 78 per cent of the regional total, with the balance arriving in much smaller numbers to Italy, Malta and Cyprus. Arrivals to Greece are running approximately 60 per cent ahead of 2018’s totals from this time. Arrivals to Spain are more than 50 per cent lower.

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 3 October are at 1,041 individuals – or about 55 per cent of the 1,890 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018.

The 1,041 deaths at sea include the deaths of several dozen people documented on sea routes across the Mediterranean in the past 10 days.

Most recently, on 28 September, 16 people died and 37 went missing in a shipwreck off the coast of Mohammédia, in Morocco’s Atlantic coast, just 27km north of Casablanca. Three survivors were rescued by the Moroccan Royal Navy, and the remains of seven people, including those of a young woman, washed ashore on the same day on Plage Zenata, in the municipality of Ain Harrouda.

Two days later, on Monday 30 September, the remains of five other people were found on a nearby beach, then remains of six more were recovered. Local NGOs Les Ponts Solidaires and the Association Marocaine des Droits Humains reported several dozen more remain missing. This is the deadliest incident that has taken place on this route since 17 January 2019, when a boat with 53 people on board disappeared without a trace in the Alborán Sea.

According to Missing Migrants Project data, 315 lives have been lost on the Western Mediterranean route between 1 January and 1 October 2019.

In the Eastern Mediterranean, five children and two women drowned when a boat capsized in the eastern Aegean Sea on 27 September. Twelve survivors were rescued from the water near Oinousses, about 8km from the Turkish coast. At least 66 people have died this year attempting the crossing from Turkey to the Greek islands, including 23 children and 12 women.

These latest incidents brought the total number of deaths documented in the Mediterranean in 2019 to 1,041, the sixth year that more than one thousand deaths have been recorded on this sea crossing. the MMP data base as of today has calculated 18,960 deaths or missing-and-presumed drowned victims since 1 January 2014.

Adding to these data those lost in the 2013 Lampedusa tragedy brings the total number fatalities over six years to well over 19,000 men, women and children.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project does not have data for the calendar year 2013, but certainly its researchers are aware of other shipwrecks with loss of life that year as well.

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