Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 2,583 in 2018; Deaths Reach 199

Humanitarian Emergencies, Missing Migrants

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 2,583 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through 17 January. This compares with 3,156 coming ashore during a similar period in 2017.



IOM Italy’s Flavio Di Giacomo reported Thursday (18/01) that a total of 1,671 migrants have been rescued in the waters between Libya and Italy in two days: 1,457 on Tuesday and 214 on Wednesday (the overall majority are not included in the above table).

The rescue operations were carried out by NGOs, the Italian Coast Guard, EunavforMed, commercial ships and Italian Navy. Three migrants died (among them two infants). Thursday weather conditions were extremely harsh yet there were reports of migrants’ boats at sea calling for help.

The 1,093 arrivals to Italy through Wednesday (17/01) is less than half the total (2,393) arriving by this time last year.   Since the end of June of 2017, Libya-to-Italy voyages have shown a marked decline, although fatalities on the Mediterranean’s Central Route remain high.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project records 179 deaths on this route in 2018, compared with 200 at this time last winter (see chart below).


Italy and Greece arrivals this year continue a trend that began in 2017, when migrant arrivals along the Mediterranean Sea’s Central and Eastern routes hit their lowest levels in four years (see chart below).

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported Thursday total land and see arrivals of irregular migrants this month are at 869 (as of 18/01), with sea arrivals totaling 653 migrants, divided between Spain’s southern shores and Balearic Islands (614) the Canary Islands (18) and Ceuta (21). Land arrivals, 216, were recorded at Melilla.

IOM Greece reported Wednesday that over the last week, the Hellenic Coast Guard reported there were at least 4 incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos and Samos. The Coast Guard rescued a combined 145 migrants and transferred them to these respective islands.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) added several deaths to the Mediterranean report this week.  In the Western Mediterranean, two Algerian nationals, a man and a woman, lost their lives in a shipwreck, eight miles north of Cap Falcon in Algeria on 16 January. Seventeen survivors were rescued from the same boat by local civil protection authorities.

In the Central Mediterranean, the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms reported three deaths off the coast of Libya: on 16 January, the bodies of a baby and a young man were found on an overloaded wooden boat during a rescue operation, while on 18 January, the NGO reported the death of another infant from malnutrition and fever on board their ship, while waiting for a medical evacuation that unfortunately did not arrive in time.

MMP lists 199 deaths in the Mediterranean this month, which makes January 2018 the second deadliest month in the region in half a year. Since June 2017 – when 547 migrants or refugees lost their lives on the Mediterranean – only one month, November (with 262 fatalities), saw more deaths than January so far, this with two weeks remaining in the month.

IOM recorded in each of the months of July, August, September, October and December 2017 fewer than 170 migrant deaths on the Mediterranean.

Worldwide, the MMP has recorded the deaths of 235 people during migration in 2018. Besides the Mediterranean casualties MMP recorded one new death in Europe over the past few days: on 13 January, a 30-year-old Moroccan man was hit by a train near Bolzano, Italy. Four migrants already had lost their lives as they tried to move across Europe since the beginning of the year. On the US/Mexico border, a newborn traveling in a family group from Honduras died from hypothermia in Nogales, Sonora, on 15 January.

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on missing migrants are collected, click here.

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For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Hicham Hasnaoui at IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Berlin, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email:
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Tel: +216 71 860 312 ext 109, Mobile: +216 28 78 78 05, Email: