More than 100,000 migrants entered Europe by sea in 2019

More than 100,000 migrants entered Europe by sea in 2019
A boat carrying refugees and migrants drifts on the Mediterranean Sea shortly before rescue by the Italian Navy in 2014. © Italian Navy/Massimo Sestini

The number of migrants and refugees that entered Europe by sea in 2019 marks the sixth year in a row that figures were at least 100,000.

The International Organisation for Migration reports that 110,669 people arrived on three Mediterranean Sea Routes.

The total is about 5% lower than the number that arrived in 2018, which was 116,273.

The number of deaths recorded on the routes in 2019 was 1,283 people. In 2018, that figure was 2.299. Since 2014, the Mediterranean has claimed the lives of at least 19,164 migrants.

Missing Migrants researchers estimate that one in 33 people died attempting to cross the Central Mediterranean in 2019, compared to one in 35 in 2018 and one in 51 in 2017.

However, the IOM warns that these figures do not include a rising number of shipwrecks that have still yet to be confirmed according to its Missing Migrants Project based at the Global Migrant Data Analysis Centre in Berlin.

There are at least 413 people lost at sea whose deaths may never be fully verified, the organisation says.

Director of IOM’s Global Migrant Data Analysis Centre Frank Laczko said: “The remains of those lost at sea this year may never be found, like thousands of others lost in the Mediterranean. Each year that these deaths continue means more families live in limbo, not knowing whether a relative is dead or alive.

“If you come from a high-income country, efforts will be made to find and identify your body should you go missing. The same simply does not apply if you are an undocumented migrant.”

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