The Address | Benghazi – Libya
GENEVA – 10,308 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 13 March, a 16 per cent decrease from the 12,318 arriving during the same period last year. Deaths on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through just over ten weeks of the new year are at 234 individuals – or about half the 466 deaths that occurred during the same period in 2018, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported.
A total of 335 migrants and refugees have landed in Italy this year, according to official Ministry of Interior figures, IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo on Thursday reported, adding that since 1 January 2019, a total of 930 migrants have been returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard – or three times the total arriving by sea to Italy.
Through 13 March, 5,222 men, women and children have arrived as irregular migrants since the start of this year – an average of some 73 per day. Through this period, irregular migrant arrivals by sea to Spain are just about 51 per cent of all Mediterranean arrivals of this type, IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska said.
In the week since Friday (08/03), the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) was involved in at least six incidents requiring search and rescue operation off the islands of Samos, Lesvos and Farmakonisi. The HCG rescued a total of 239 migrants and transferred them to those ports, IOM Greece reported on Thursday.
Those 239 arrivals were among some 296 IOM recorded since last Friday arriving at the islands of Farmakonisi, Kos, Rhodes, Lesvos, Samos and Chios and bringing to 4,483 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year, a 26 per cent increase in arrivals compared to this same time last year (see chart below).
IOM Greece also provided data this week on nationalities of all irregular migrants detected by the Hellenic Coast Guard through the end of February. Of some 3,614 arrivals, just over half (1,914 men, women and children) were Afghan with 411 arriving from Iraq, 399 from the Palestinian Territories and 320 from Syria. Smaller groups arrived from Congo (114), the Islamic Republic of Iran (81), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (75), Cameroon (47), Yemen (26), Eritrea (13), Angola (9) and the Dominican Republic (2).