Mediterranean death toll highest in years


Migrants drowning at the Mediterranean Sea. Photo by AFP

from AHMED ZAYED in Tripoli, Libya
Libya Bureau
TRIPOLI, (CAJ News) – THE death of almost 3 800 people on migration routes within and from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in 2022 is the highest toll in six years.

These deaths from January to December almost rival the 4 255 deaths recorded in 2017.

The 3 789 deaths recorded in 2022 was 11 percent higher than the previous year.

MENA accounted for more than half of the total 6 877 deaths recorded worldwide by the Missing Migrants Project (MMP) of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

On North African land routes, particularly during the Sahara Desert crossing, 203 deaths were recorded, an additional 825 deaths occurred on Middle Eastern land routes.

Libya registered the highest number of deaths on land routes in North Africa, with 117 fatalities, followed by Algeria (54), Morocco (13), Tunisia (10) and Egypt (9).

The scarcity of official data and limited access to land routes for civil society and international organisations suggests the actual number of deaths on migratory routes within and from the MENA is likely much higher than reported.

MMP data shows that 92 percent of people dying on this route remain unidentified.

“The tragic loss of life on dangerous migration routes highlights the importance of data and analysis in driving action,” said Koko Warner, Director of the Global Data Institute, hosting the MMP.

IOM has called for increased international and regional cooperation as well as resources to address this humanitarian crisis and prevent further loss of lives, in line with objectives of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM).

GCM Objective 8 focuses on “Saving lives and establishing coordinated international efforts on missing migrants.”

It aims to prevent migrant deaths, mostly in the Mediterranean, address the challenges of missing migrants, and provide support to affected families.

“This alarming death toll on migration routes within and from the MENA region demands immediate attention and concerted efforts to enhance the safety and protection of migrants,” said Othman Belbeisi, IOM MENA Regional Director.

– CAJ News










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