A total of 256 men, women, and children died in the Mediterranean Sea routes as at April 22, 2020.
IOM reports that 16,724 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through almost four months of 2020, a 16 per cent increase from the 14,381 arriving during the same period last year. Nearly half of all arrivals have been to Greece, this year’s busiest destination.
Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 22 April stand 256 men, women and children, compared with 425 through this same period in 2019.
IOM Italy’s Flavio Di Giacomo reported 34 migrants on board the rescue ship “Aita Mari”, joined 146 migrants taken from another rescue ship, the “Alan Kurdi,” to quarantine aboard the ferry “Rubattino” off the coast of Palermo. He said the migrants are expected to spend several days in quarantine and added that according to media reports all migrants and crew on board tested negative for COVID-19.
IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported 4,856 migrants and refugees have entered Spanish waters from Africa in 2020; nearly half of those, 1,810, took the Western Africa route to the Canarias islands instead of Spain’s European mainland. This compares with 2,557 to the Canarias through all of 2019 and 1,307 in all of 2018.
IOM’s Missing Migrants Project further reported that up to last week (15 April) 1,781 people arrived in the Canarias aboard 61 boats. During the same period in 2019, 181 people arrived on 20 boats.
IOM Greece reported on Thursday (23/04) that irregular migration sea landings for the month are at 39, in what appears to be the lowest total for any month on the Eastern Mediterranean route since the start of the migrant sea emergency in 2013.
All of those landings occurred on one day, 1 April, at one location: the island of Lesvos. No other landing or sea rescue has occurred in the Aegean for the last three weeks, a remarkable absence of volume and, IOM believes, unprecedented in this period.
Lanna Walsh of IOM Turkey reported that beginning in April, Turkish Coast Guard statistics began showing a decrease in the number of migrants attempting to cross the Aegean Sea.
Nationwide lockdown regulations forbid anyone from traveling between provinces without permission letters. During weekends people are required to remain in their homes. All residents, including migrants and refugees, must follow these strict measures, making movement towards border areas nearly impossible.
Also Thursday, IOM Greece’s Erini Axarli shared data on the nationalities of irregular migrants recorded by Greek authorities during the first three months of 2020. Of 7,441 irregular migrants arriving during the period, 2,946 came from Afghanistan, or 40 per cent of the total.
The other large groups include Syrians (1847), Somalis, (450) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (450), outnumbering previously large groups such as Iraqis (333) and Iranians (196). Still large numbers were reported from Palestinian Territories (285), Congo (272) and Cameroon (144). A few smaller, and much more distant, states’ citizens continue to arrive on this route, including from The Gambia (55), Guinea (26), Ghana (39), Mali (20), Senegal (21), Sierra Leone (23 ) and Togo (19).
Between January and the end of March 10 migrants were reported coming from the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
IOM launches open South America portal
Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Open South America, available in Spanish, English and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.
The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.
The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.
Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.
“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.
“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.
29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM
The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.
About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.
Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.
He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.
Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.
“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”
Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.
“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.
Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.
The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.
FG condemns killing of Nigerian footballer in UK
The Federal government has condemned the alleged killing of a Nigerian Footballer, Kelvin Igweani, by the UK police.
Recall that Igweani, a Nigerian Footballer, was shot dead by officers, who attended a call out to a house, where a child was found with serious injuries.
Reacting, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), in Abuja on Wednesday described the incident as very unfortunate,and sad.
Dabiri-Erewa condoled with the family of the deceased and the Nigerian communities in the UK while praying that God grants rest to the soul of the departed.
“We call on the UK government for a thorough and proper investigation to be carried out on the incident,” the statement added.
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