Drop in the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), published data on recent arrivals in Europe.  Compared with the 273,000 migrants who landed from January through Aug. 27, 2016, about 121,000 arrived during the same period this year. Furthermore, there was no evidence of any migrant dying in the Mediterranean since Aug. 9

Since 9 August, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has not received any reports of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean. The total count for Mediterranean Sea fatalities has remained at 2,410 for 20 days. 19 deaths have been recorded in the region so far in all of August by IOM, a sharp drop from the 689 recorded in August 2015 and 62 last year.

More information on the number of arrivals and deaths in the Mediterranean and some infographics can be found on the website of the Missing Migrants Project of IOM.

The summer months - when waters are warmer and travel conditions are more auspicious - typically preside over spikes in the numbers of migrants and asylum seekers who make the often-dangerous journey to Europe. In the past, the increase in traffic usually has been accompanied by an increase in fatalities en route, mostly to do with capsized boats and the lack of safety precautions taken by people-smugglers. Not so in August 2017, the data suggests.

However, experts were quick to caution against any single explanation for the dip in arrivals and in fatalities. The data doesn’t tell much about a longer-term trend and the trend could change quickly. 

Source: The Washington Post, The mysterious drop in the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean.