IOM estimates over 3,770 migrant deaths in Mediterranean in 2015

4 January 2016 (Last Updated January 4th, 2016 18:30)

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has estimated that more than 3,770 migrants and refugees have died while trying to make their way to Europe, crossing the Mediterranean in 2015.

Mediterranean

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has estimated that more than 3,770 migrants and refugees have died while trying to make their way to Europe, crossing the Mediterranean in 2015.

Last year, nearly 3,270 deaths were recorded in the Mediterranean.

According to the IOM estimates, over 5,350 migrants died globally in 2015.

Mediterranean area is considered to have accounted for the highest number of migrant deaths globally, followed by Southeast Asia which accounted for 800 deaths this year.

April is reportedly the most fatal month recording the highest number of deaths, where 800 migrants were believed to have drowned after the boat ferrying them run aground Libyan waters south of the Italian island of Lampedusa. 28 survivors were rescued to safety to Italy.

About 77% of deaths this year is attributed to the smugglers operating on the Central Mediterranean route from the Libyan shores. Owing to stringent immigration rules, the migrants pose as an easy prey for the smugglers offering to ferry them across.

In 2015, 21% of deaths occurred in the Eastern Mediterranean compared to only 1% in 2014. In the Central Mediterranean, deaths recorded were down by 9% from last year with the rate of death at 18.5 deaths per every 1,000 travellers.

" Migration has been the major theme of 2015, with record numbers of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe, fleeing from conflict and acute poverty. "

IOM director general William Lacy Swing said: "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.

"It is shocking and inexcusable that desperate migrants and refugees have lost their lives in record numbers this year, when they should not.

"The international community world must act now to stop this trend against desperate migrants."


Image: A graphic illustration of death toll across Mediterranean. Photo: courtesy of International Organization for Migration.