Published On: Sat, Aug 4th, 2018

IOM: Over 1000 migrants have died trying to reach Italy from Africa

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says 1,111 migrants have died while trying to reach Italy through illegal crossing points in the Mediterranean Sea since January 2018.

In a statement released on Friday, the IOM said 18 645 Africa migrants and refugees had entered Europe via Italy from the Mediterranean as of 1 August, 2018.

Most of the immigrants are North-West Africans fleeing a mixture of war, poverty, bad governance and the absence of economic opportunities back homes. The journeys begin with a perilous desert crossing to Libya and Tunisia where they board rickety fishing boats to make the rough sea crossing to Italy.

During the same period, at least 23 048 African migrants entered Europe via Spain as 308 others died on the Western Mediterranean route, a new link between North Africa and southern Spain.  

“Arrivals to Spain in July overtook those to Italy and have surpassed the total number of arrivals (22,108) recorded in Spanish waters during all of 2017. This year, almost 40% of all Mediterranean irregular migrants have come via the Western Mediterranean route, whose irregular migration volume has more than tripled that registered on the route by this time last year. 

“As remarkable as Spain’s rise in irregular migration activity has been through 2018, more significant is this summer surge. Over the year’s first five months, a total of 8,150 men, women and children were rescued in Spanish waters after leaving Africa – an average of 54 per day. In the 62 days since May 31, a total of 14,898 have arrived – or over 240 migrants per day,” the IOM.

The Western route (via Spain) also proved to be the deadliest with over 300 fatalities recorded by 1 August, up from 224 at the same time last year. Most of the fatalities were migrants from the North, the Horn and Sub-Saharan regions of Africa.

Author: Oscar Nkala

pixabay: Ralph, user Capri23auto

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