Over 800 migrants died when their overcrowded vessel capsized off the coast of Libya
With over 3,770 estimated deaths, 2015 has been the deadliest year on record for migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean, trying to reach Europe, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Approximately 3,270 deaths were recorded in the Mediterranean in 2014. Globally, IOM estimates that over 5,350 migrants died in 2015.
According to IOM, the deadliest month in 2015 was April when nearly 1,250 migrants died, mainly due to the worst tragedy on record involving migrants crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa, in which an estimated 800 migrants died when their overcrowded vessel capsized off the coast of Libya
77 percent of the deaths occurred in the Central Mediterranean route mostly used by smugglers operating from Libyan shores.
In 2015, 21 percent of deaths occurred in the Eastern Mediterranean compared to only 1 percent in 2014. In the Central Mediterranean, deaths recorded were down by 9 percent from last year with the rate of death at 18.5 deaths per every 1,000 travellers.
Globally, the majority of the estimated 5,350 deaths were recorded with the Mediterranean, the most deadly region, followed by Southeast Asia (mostly in the Bay of Bengal, Andaman Sea, Malaysia and Thailand) which saw at least 800 deaths this year. Within Mexico and along the US-Mexico border there have been at least 330 deaths recorded this year.
Reacting to the 2015 figures, IOM Director General William Lacy Swing, said it is shocking and inexcusable that desperate migrants and refugees have lost their lives in record numbers this year, when they should not.
He said the international community world must act to stop the trend against desperate migrants.
“Migration has been the major theme of 2015, with record numbers of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe, fleeing from conflict and acute poverty. Throughout the year, we have been reminded that much of human mobility is not voluntary and tragically we have seen so many who felt they had no option but to leave their beloved homelands and were lost at sea, in the deserts or trapped in the back of lorries they had hoped would carry them to a safer and better life,” said Ambassador Swing.
IOM’s Missing Migrants Project which draws on a range of sources to track deaths of migrants along migratory routes across the globe is managed by IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) in Berlin, Germany.