4,621 Migrant Deaths Recorded This Year in Mediterranean

SWITZERLAND – IOM reports that an estimated 350 migrants are missing, presumed dead after at least six incidents in the Mediterranean in the past three days. This brings the already record number of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean in 2016 to an estimated 4,621. This means that 1,000 more deaths have been recorded this year than during the same period last year. In all of 2015, some 3,777 migrants died trying to cross the Mediterranean.

These six latest incidents (see below for further details) mean that IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has already recorded 546 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean this November, compared to 81 during the period 1-17 November 2015. This means that migrant deaths in November 2016 are over 6 times higher than the number of deaths recorded in November last year.

Date

 # Dead

# Missing

# Survivors

Route

Survivors brought to

Source

14.11.2016

5

1

114

Central Med

Calabria
(arrives tomorrow)

SOS Mediterranée

14.11.2016

 

135

15

Central Med

Catania

IOM Italy

14.11.2016

 

3

122

Central Med

Catania

IOM Italy

15.11.2016

4

95

23

Central Med

Calabria
(arrives tomorrow)

IOM Italy

16.11.2016

4

 

15

Eastern Med

Kavala

Hellenic Coast Guard

16.11.2016

7

96

27

Central Med

unknown

IOM Italy

The rescue operations were carried out by several ships – SOS Mediterranée’s Aquarius; Medecins Sans Frontières’ Bourbon Argos; the private Dutch-flagged rescue ship Iuventa and a commercial ship that transferred survivors to the Italian Coast Guard ship Diciotti.

These latest incidents all followed a similar pattern; due to poor weather and rough sea conditions, the rubber dinghies started taking in water and gradually sank, causing many migrants to drown.

“What is really of great concern about these shipwrecks is that the bad weather did not stop the human smugglers from forcing people onto these unsafe dinghies,” said Flavio Di Giacomo, spokesperson for the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean in Rome.  

“From the first testimonies that we collected so far, it seems that the migrants were forced on board, even though they were clearly afraid of the rough seas. It was extremely dangerous in such bad weather. The rescues were also even more complicated under these conditions.”

Meanwhile 343,589 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 through 16 November, arriving mostly in Greece and Italy.

Some 170,679 people have arrived in Greece and 167,276 in Italy so far in 2016. The total is well below the number of arrivals at this point last year, when 728,926 migrants and refugees had made the journey by November 1.

According to the Italian Ministry of Interior, the 167,276 migrants who have arrived in Italy by sea this year represent an increase of over 16 percent compared to the same period last year.

“The total number of total arrivals in Italy this year is similar to those of the previous two years, but this autumn we have noticed an increase in departures from Libya. These latest shipwrecks are an indicator of the ruthlessness of these smugglers, who still organize these departures despite the weather, causing tragedies like the ones we are now witnessing,” said Di Giacomo.

Meanwhile IOM Greece reports that 126 migrant arrivals were registered on 14-15 November on the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Chios and Leros.