IOM Warns of Reaching 1,000 Migrant Deaths on Mediterranean in 2019

Geneva, Oct. 1, 2019 – The recent spate of Mediterranean Sea tragedies along all three migratory routes have brought the number of confirmed fatalities in 2019 to 994 men, women and children. An incident off Morocco this past weekend remains not fully accounted for. IOM is trying to confirm reports of as many as 40 migrants lost in that shipwreck.

Fatalities this year will thus top 1,000 and 2019 will mark the sixth straight year IOM has recorded at least 1,000 deaths in the waters separating Europe from Africa and the Middle East – a period during which at least 15,000 victims have lost their lives in Mediterranean crossings.

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IOM Spokesperson Leonard Doyle said, “Amid a rising tide of anti-migrant sentiment in our politics worldwide, this shocking figure of nearly 1000 deaths is due in some measure to a hardening attitude and outright hostility towards migrants fleeing violence and poverty. This carnage at sea pains us all. It also shames us all.”

On Monday, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reported that as of 29 September, 659 migrants or refugees have perished on the Central Mediterranean route linking the coasts of Africa to Italian territorial waters, or almost two thirds of the total number of Mediterranean deaths recorded thus far in 2019. Another 66 victims have been reported on the Mediterranean’s Eastern route, linking Turkey and Syrian coasts to waters off Greece and Cyprus. IOM reported another 269 deaths in the waters between North Africa and Spain.

Total Deaths in the Mediterranean 2019-2018