The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said that in 2018, for the fifth consecutive year, over 4,000 people are believed to have died or disappared on migratory routes across the globe, according to the organization's Missing Migrants Project (MMP).
While final data collection for 2018 is still being compiled from several jurisdictions, at least 4,592 migrants reportedly died or disappeared during their journeys, down 20 percent from the previous year. In 2016, the year with the highest number of dead and missing migrants since the IOM started tracking missing migrants, over 8,000 migrants died or disappeared.
Incomplete data on dead and missing migrants
Half (2,297) of the victims registered in 2018 died or went missing while trying to cross the Mediterranean to get to Europe. According to the IOM, 116,000 migrants arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean route in 2018.
The UN agency stressed that there are few reliable sources of information about deaths and disappearances due to the clandestine nature of irregular migration so the data collected in some regions, particularly the desert areas many migrants cross to reach the Mediterranean, is incomplete.
23 deaths in the last two weeks of 2018
IOM reported that multiple tragedies on the Mediterranean in the final two weeks of the year claimed the lives of at least 23 people including two children. An additional 31 people were reported missing.
The UN agency said that coast guards, navies and rescue agencies of several nations, non-governmental groups running rescue operations and a US-flagged cargo vessel together reportedly rescued at least 135 migrants at sea in the final two weeks of the year.