Author: International Organization for Migration

Italy - IOM reports an estimated 214,861 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 through 22 June, arriving in Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Spain.

Deaths so far this year are 2,861 compared with 1,838 through the first six months of 2015. In other words, fatalities on the Mediterranean Sea in 2016 stand over 1,000 ahead of last year’s mid-year total, with one week remaining before 2016’s mid-year point.

IOM Libya Chief of Mission Othman Belbeisi reported on Thursday (23 June) that Libya’s Coast Guard indicated five migrant boats were rescued off the coast near Zawiya with approximately 1,000 migrants on board, with one casualty reported. IOM Libya is currently working to find out more information about the incident and provide those in need with Non-Food Item relief kits and hygiene kits.

Belbeisi noted that May 2016 saw a spike in the number of maritime incidents off the Libyan coast, making it the deadliest month to date this year, with 1,086 migrants reported as dead or missing. Between 22 and 28 May alone, over 3,600 migrants were rescued at sea and brought back to Libya.

IOM’s spokesman in Rome Flavio Di Giacomo reported Friday that the Italian Navy and international vessels rescued some 5,000 migrants in the Channel of Sicily in 40 separate operations since early yesterday morning. Those rescued remain en route to various Italian ports.

IOM estimates that from 1 January to 22 June 2016 at least 55,563 migrants have arrived in Italy via sea routes. Adding the 5,000 being reported today, IOM’s latest total is 60,563 or some 10,000 shy of the total through the end of June 2015, when arrivals totalled 70,354 –  an indication that traffic this year from Libya and Egypt, while robust, remains almost identical with last year’s totals during a similar period.

IOM Athens reports that, since Monday, a total of 117 migrants or refugees arrived on various islands from Turkey. For the month – through June 22 – IOM Athens estimates 1,095 migrants or refugees have arrived by sea along the Mediterranean’s eastern route – compared with almost 157,000 arriving through the end of May.

Since the start of 2015, IOM estimates a total of 1,011,568 have arrived in Greece via so-called “blue borders” – a daily average of about 1,800 men, women and children over nearly 18 months. IOM notes the average daily arrival since the late March implementation of an accord between Turkey and the European Union to limit arrivals has dropped to fewer than 100 per day, and fewer than 50 per day this month.