Migrants rescued by Spanish Salvamento Maritimo arrive in the port of Melilla, Spain | Photo: EPA/F.G.GUERRERO
Migrants rescued by Spanish Salvamento Maritimo arrive in the port of Melilla, Spain | Photo: EPA/F.G.GUERRERO

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has reported that 111,558 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through 16 December. At least 2,217 people were reported dead.

In a statement, the UN agency said that this year is the fifth straight during which the arrival of irregular migrants and refugees has topped the 100,000 threshold. 

Nevertheless, this year's number of arrivals is much lower compared to previous years - in 2017 and 2016, there were 167,916 and 358,018 arrivals respectively. 

2,217 deaths reported in 2018 

IOM's Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reported that 2,217 people died so far this year in an attempt to cross the Mediterranean on one of three major sea routes. The Mediterranean continues to account for the majority of deaths during migration recorded globally, the organization noted. 

Overall, 4,476 migrants were reported dead or missing worldwide so far in 2018. However, the agency said it is important to note that there are few reliable sources of information on this, implying that the actual numbers of deaths in some regions - including the Mediterranean - are likely higher.

Nearly 750 died trying to reach Spain 

The Missing Migrants Project team documented the deaths of 744 people in the waters between North Africa and Spain so far in 2018, compared to the 224 deaths recorded along this route over 2017. The team said there has been a consistent increase in the number of migrant deaths recorded in the Western Mediterranean each year since IOM began keeping track. 


 

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