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Mediterranean migrant arrivals reach 14,854 in 2020; deaths reach 219

International Organisation of Migration (I

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 14,854 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through mid-March 2020. That’s an increase of almost 50 per cent over the arrivals reported on three principle migratory routes crossing the Mediterranean at this point last year, when IOM recorded 10,771 irregular arrivals to Europe by sea.

Most of the increase can be attributed to transit along the eastern Mediterranean route linking the Middle East and Africa to Greece, which has recorded about 2,500 more arrivals through these early weeks of 2020 than were reported through this point in 2019.

Arrivals also are higher to Italy – to 2,738 in 2020 compared to just 398 at this time last year – and to Malta, which has recorded 1,1135 arrivals so far this year, compared to 136 at this point in 2019. The Mediterranean’s western route to Spain shows the sharpest drop in arrivals – to 3,803 in 2020 from 5,491 last year.

Deaths through 18 March are down, to 219, compared to 299 this time last year. Tragedies continue to plague the Central Mediterranean route.

*IOM’s Missing Migrants Project* reports that five weeks after a 9 February alert from the NGO Alarm Phone that a boat leaving Libya with 91 passengers aboard still has not been found. GPS coordinates of the last known location of the boat have been cross-checked against records of search and rescue (SAR) operations conducted by Italian, Maltese and Libyan authorities, as well as NGO rescue ships. Through 18 March, 115 are believed to have perished on this route in 2020 – more than half of them from this single incident.

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*IOM Greece*
Arrivals to Greece so far are continuing their rapid pace from a year ago. The 7,178 men, women and children arriving in Greece by sea through 18 March nearly matches the roughly 7,600 arrivals to Greece through the end of April last year.

IOM Athens reported Thursday that from last Friday (13/03) up to date, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) has carried out at least two search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos and Kea. The HCG rescued a total of 214 migrants and transferred them to the respective ports.

The IOM unit also released data this week for all nationalities arriving via irregular means to Greece. According to the Hellenic Coast Guard, Afghanistan migrants continue to comprise the largest single group of irregular migrants arriving in 2020, as was the case in 2018 and 2019.

Through the end of February, IOM Athens reports 2,399 Afghan nationals have been recorded on this route, out of a total migrant population of 5,261 – or about 40 per cent of the total. The second largest group was from Syria, with 1,188 men, women and children, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (273), Somalia (250) and Iraq (218).

Among the other nationalities still being detected along this route – albeit in much smaller numbers –include Palestinians (207 arrivals), Iranians (152) and Cameroons (98). Latin Americans also continue to use this route into Europe with a total so far this year of seven individuals from Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

*Missing Migrants Project*
2020 is the seventh year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project.

READ  ILO, IOM sign agreement to strengthen collaboration on migration governance

Since the beginning of 2014, the project has recorded the deaths of 35,720 people, including 464 as of 19 March 2020. Due to the challenges of collecting information about people who die during migration and the contexts of their deaths, the true number of lives lost is likely much higher.

Missing Migrants Project records should only be viewed as indicative of the risks associated with migration, rather than representative of the true number of deaths across time or geography.

The crisis at the Greece-Turkey border has already cost the lives of three people. On 2 March, a seven-year-old Syrian boy drowned just off the coast of Lesvos, Greece, when a boat overturned. Two men have been killed at the Greece-Turkey border, in two separate incidents. Both were taken to hospitals on the Turkish side; regrettably, the doctors were unable to save their lives.

Shipwrecks are the most common causes of migrant fatalities. Over the past seven weeks (1 February-18 March), the Missing Migrants Project has confirmed three deadly shipwrecks.

On 11 February, at least 14 women and children drowned, and 45 other people went missing when the boat taking them to Malaysia capsized in the Bay of Bengal near Saint Martin’s Island; most victims were Rohingya refugees.

Three days later, on 14 February a boat capsized in the Central Mediterranean. It departed from Chetaibi, Algeria, carrying 18 people, all of whom remain missing. Also, in February, a boat carrying 28 migrants capsized off the coast of Dakhla en route to the Canary Islands; half of them remain unaccounted for.

At the US-Mexico border, a Guatemalan teen died on 14 March, after falling while climbing the 5.5-meter-high border wall in Clint, Texas. The 19-year-old woman was eight months pregnant, traveling with her partner, who reportedly carried her until he located the US Border Patrol agents who took her to a hospital in El Paso, Texas, where doctors performed an emergency C-section. Sadly, both the mother and her baby passed away.

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They join a growing list of lost lives in the border region. From the beginning of February, the Missing Migrants Project documented the deaths of 21 people at the US-Mexico border.

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff based at its Global Migration Data Analysis Centre but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on migrants’ deaths and disappearances are collected, click here. The report Fatal Journeys Volume 4, published on 28 June 2019, includes an overview of five years of Missing Migrants Project data (2014-2018) and an update on what is known about deaths during migration in 2019.

Source: IOM

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Over 140 migrants perish in deadliest shipwreck of the year

A group of suspected migrants are brought to shore by Border Force officers at the Port of Dover in Kent after a number of small boat incidents in the Channel in September. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

At least 140 people have drowned after a vessel carrying around 200 migrants sank off the Senegalese coast, the deadliest shipwreck recorded in 2020.

According to media sources, the Senegalese and Spanish navies, and fishermen who were nearby, rescued 59 people and retrieved the remains of 20 others.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is deeply saddened by this recent tragedy, which follows four shipwrecks recorded in the Central Mediterranean last week and another in the English Channel.

“We call for unity between governments, partners and the international community to dismantle trafficking and smuggling networks that take advantage of desperate youth,” said Bakary Doumbia, IOM Senegal Chief of Mission.

“It is also important that we advocate for enhanced legal channels to undermine the traffickers’ business model and prevent loss of life.”

READ  Help for Italy's refugees and migrants withers with virus lockdown

Local community members told IOM the vessel left Mbour, a coastal town in western Senegal on Saturday (24/10) bound for the Canary Islands. The boat caught fire a few hours after departure and capsized near Saint-Louis, on Senegal’s northwest coast.

The Government of Senegal and IOM have arranged a mission to travel to Saint-Louis to assess the needs of survivors and provide immediate psychosocial assistance.

The number of departures from West Africa to the Canary Islands has significantly increased in recent weeks.

IOM Senegal has been monitoring departures from the coast with the assistance of members of the community since the beginning of September. In September alone, 14 boats carrying 663 migrants left Senegal for the Canary Islands. Of these departures, 26 per cent were reported to have experienced an incident or shipwreck.

IOM estimates there have been roughly 11,000 arrivals to the Canary Islands this year compared to 2,557 arrivals during the same period last year. This is still far below peaks seen in 2006 when over 32,000 people arrived.

READ  A breakdown of Europe’s €1.5bn migration spending in Nigeria

With this tragic shipwreck, at least 414 people are known to have died along this route in 2020 according to IOM’s Missing Migrants Project, which recorded 210 fatalities there in all of 2019.

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Displaced Yemen children at risk of the deadly impacts of severe food insecurity  

Migrants near Budapest

The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Acute Malnutrition analysis released today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and other partners is extremely concerning. With limited access to food, humanitarian services and health care, displaced children in Yemen are at risk of the deadly impacts of severe food insecurity.

Around 26 per cent of the more than 156,000 people newly displaced this year, in the areas where the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has access, cited food as their main need. This is the second most cited need after shelter and housing, which 65 per cent of people reported as their main need. In areas where there are higher levels of displacement, like Al Hudaydah, Taizz, Al Dhale’e and Marib, higher levels of food needs have also been reported.

“Displaced Yemenis leave their homes with nothing and often find themselves seeking safety in locations where there are no job opportunities and barely enough services, including health care,” said Christa Rottensteiner, IOM Chief of Mission for Yemen.

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“This can leave vulnerable people without enough food to feed their families. Given that UN partners are reporting that acute malnutrition rates among children under five are the highest ever recorded in parts of Yemen, we are extremely worried about children in displaced families.”

The situation in Marib is particularly concerning given that an escalation in hostilities has displaced over 90,000 people to the city and caused a drastic shortage of services. Displaced people in Marib report food to be one of their most urgent needs. Of the displacement sites assessed by IOM in October, some reported that food shortages were a major concern for approximately 50 per cent of their residents.

In response to food insecurity, the emergency aid kits distributed under the Rapid Response Mechanism by IOM to newly displaced families include emergency food rations. IOM also carries out livelihood support activities for displaced communities to help them generate income. Most recently the Organization supported displaced women in making face masks which help their community combat the spread of COVID-19.

READ  COVID-19 Compounds Families’ Painful Search for Missing and Disappeared Migrants

IOM also operates a health centre in Al Jufainah Camp, Yemen’s largest displacement site, and multiple mobile health clinics. In addition to providing primary health care services to over 55 per cent of displaced people in Marib, IOM’s mobile health clinics provide community level access to malnutrition screening for children under the age of five and referral for treatment, in coordination with UNICEF. Given the high demand for such nutritional support, early intervention is vital to reducing avoidable morbidity and mortality among displaced children.

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Nigerians in Spain say no to genocide

Nigerians resident in Spain have kicked against bad governance and brutalitalisation of innocent citizens by security operatives in Nigeria.

They are in solidarity with the #Endsars protesters.

The #Endsars protest  started by young Nigerians to say no to brutality, impunity and gruesome killings in the hands of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the government in the country saw security operatives using live bullets on the protesters last week, October 21, 2020.

In a statement signed by Afolabi Oloko, the Nigerians in Spain said: “In every part  of the world, including Nigeria, we believe protesting is a fundamental right of all citizenry that we can exercise whenever we deem it fit as long as it is civil and devoid of violence but such is not the case in Nigeria where the young future of the country are murdered by their very own government just because they made demands that there must be a reform to the notorious Police department and that the country be reformed in general. Have they asked for too much from a responsible and responsive government?

READ  Migrant in Libya relives brutal detention through sketches

“It is so disheartening that after Ten days that the youth refused to back down they resorted to killing, maiming of their own future generations just because they asked and begged for good governance and good policing. It’s a shame that young people are being killed all around the cities of Nigeria from Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Abuja, Ondo , Benin, Porthacort just to mention a few. It was horrendous seeing over seventy people being murdered at night while still protesting unarmed peacefully in Lekki area of Lagos state. They organised by switching off the street light while they carried out their evil deed against defenceless young people of the country and also took away the CCTV. The commander-in-chief of the Armed forces in person of President Muhamodu Buhari must be tried at the International court for genocide against it’s own people.

“We the compatriots far away in Spain are with our young brothers and sister on the streets saying no to bad governance as you’re in our hearts and prayers. We support you in the just cause you’re are fighting. Fighting for one’s future should not be seen as an affront to the authorities, rather they should look inward and realise that the system is rotten and should be cleansed but not killing innocent young men on the streets with Army being deployed to take lives of vibrant and resourceful, frustrated and change hungry citizens.
“Today, we came out in multitude in solidarity with our compatriots back home to say #ENDSARS! #ENDBADGOVERNANCE #ENDPOLICEBRUTALITY #ENDCORUPTION #ENDTHEGENOCIDE”

READ  Average of 11,500 people boarded vessels monthly from the Horn of Africa to Yemen in 2019

 

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