Over 5,000 Lost Life during Migration

Ukraine Refugee Crisis and Other Displaced people

The death toll of migrants across the world in 2021 crossed 4,470, which was greater than the deaths recorded in 2020. The increase comes despite repeated calls for concrete steps to reduce tragic loss of life during migration journeys.

The data from the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Missing Migrants Project records more than 45,400 deaths since 2014. The IOM mentions that the toll in 2021 could be higher as most of the time fatal incidents are recorded weeks or months later only.

COVD 19 AND MIGRATION

Meanwhile, IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre Director Frank Laczko said that though COVID-19 pandemic meant an unprecedented decrease in human mobility, the Missing Migrants Project still documents deaths almost every day. “Dozens of states have committed to the Global Compact for Migration but very few have engaged to ‘save lives and establish coordinated international efforts on missing migrants’. IOM urges States to develop policy and practice to reduce the risks that people face in seeking a better life,” said Frank Laczko.

INCREASE IN NUMBERS

The IMO said that the number of deaths and disappearances increased on several migratory routes in 2021, including in Europe and the Americas. It highlights the recent episode in which at least 54 migrants died in truck crash in Chiapas – the single deadliest incident for migrants in Mexico since 2014. It was n 2014 that IOM began documenting deaths. About 651 people died in 2021 while attempting to cross Mexico’s border with the United States, which was more than any year since 2014.

Though high-profile migration routes such as the Mediterranean and United States Mexico border crossing have accounted for thousands of deaths since 2014, this year has been marked by deaths on harder-to-document land routes.

HARD ROUTES
  • Twenty one deaths in 2021 on the Belarusian borders with the European Union, though no official data are available.
  • 42 lives lost in the Darien Gap, a remote jungle region between Colombia and Panama. Though more than 125,000 irregular crossings through this region this year means the true death toll is likely far higher.
  • At least 98 deaths compared to 40 recorded in 2020 on the crossing between the Horn of Africa and Yemen. The deaths on this route are also extremely difficult to document.

The IOM also urged States to develop policy and practice to reduce the risks that many people on the move are forced to take during migration journeys.

MIGRATION WITHIN WESTERN ASIA

Protracted conflicts in the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq and Yemen resulted in large-scale forced migration and internal displacement in this region for the last two decades. Many factors – not least economic and political- have resulted in irregular and mixed migration flows within, to and from the region, including from the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to Turkey and sometimes onward to the European Union, and from East Africa and South Asia to Yemen and countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The region recorded 1,228 Missing Migrants.

CAUSE OF DEATH

  • 623 Drowning cases
  • 293 Violence related deaths
  • 148 vehicle accident / death linked to hazardous transport
  • 95 deaths due to harsh environmental conditions/lack of adequate shelter, food and water
  • 50 Mixed or unknown
  • 12 deaths due to Sickness / lack of access to adequate healthcare
  • 7 Accidental deaths
MIGRATION WITHIN AFRICA

Migration trends in Africa are diverse with most migrants moving within the continent and even intra-regionally, such as in Western and Eastern Africa, where there are established protocols for freedom of movement of citizens. The region recorded  10,811 Missing Migrants since 2014

CAUSES OF DEATHS

  • 2,782 Drowning
  • 2,707 Mixed or unknown
  • 1658 Harsh environmental conditions / lack of adequate shelter, food, water
  • 1,590 Vehicle accident / death linked to hazardous transport
  • 1096 Violence
  • 903 Sickness / lack of access to adequate healthcare
  • 75 Accidental death
MIGRATION WITHIN THE AMERICAS

The region of the Americas (containing South Central and North America as well as the Caribbean), is characterized by complex and dynamic mixed migration flows, both intraregional and extra-regional. The people transiting through the Americas include refugees, asylum seekers economic migrants short-term visitors and other people on the move. The drivers of migration and displacement are multi-faceted and include natural disasters, structural violence, poverty and inequality.

The number of missing migrants reported since 2014 is  5,815.

CAUSE OF DEATH

  • 2,374 Mixed or unknown
  • 1 803 Drowning 636 Vehicle accident / death linked to hazardous transport
  • 565 Harsh environmental conditions / lack of adequate shelter, food, water
  • 277 Violence
  • 114 Sickness / lack of access to adequate healthcare
  • 46 Accidental death
MIGRATION WITHIN ASIA

Migration in Asia is dynamic, diverse and complex. It is characterized intra- and extra-regional migration by land, sea and air as well as South-North and South-South migration patterns. Forty-two percent of migrants in Asia in 2020 were women and 18 percent were under the age of 18.

Asia saw 3.962 Missing Migrants since 2014

CAUSE OF DEATH

  • 1,580 Mixed or unknown
  • 992 Drowning
  • 585 Violence
  • 444 Vehicle accident / death linked to hazardous transport
  • 239 Accidental death
  • 78 Sickness / lack of access to adequate healthcare
  • 44 Harsh environmental conditions / lack of adequate shelter, food, water
MIGRATION WITHIN EUROPE

Most migration in Europe is intraregional. It is enabled by the freedom of movement and common visa system of the 26 countries.  in the Schengen Zone. Nonetheless, some people without legal status in the Schengen Zone and other countries in Europe migrate irregularly within the continent, which can pose risks to their lives. 756 Missing Migrants Recorded in Europe since 2014.

CAUSE OF DEATH

  • 402 Vehicle accident / death linked to hazardous transport
  • 182 Drowning
  • 49 Harsh environmental conditions / lack of adequate shelter, food, water
  • 45 Violence
  • 36 Mixed or unknown
  • 22 Accidental death
  • 18 Sickness / lack of access to adequate healthcare
MIGRATION WITHIN THE MEDITERRANEAN

There is a long history of migration through the Mediterranean. Human mobility in all directions across the Mediterranean has occurred for thousands of years. Since at least mid-1990s, thousands of people each year have crossed the Mediterranean by boat from the northern coasts of Africa and Turkey to seek asylum or to migrate to Europe if they do not have the documentation required by the countries of destination. Mediterranean Sea is where irregular migration to Europe is most visible. 22,941 Missing Migrants Recorded in Mediterranean since 2014.

CAUSE OF DEATH

  • 21,251 Drowning
  • 1,128 Mixed or unknown
  • 274 Vehicle accident / death linked to hazardous transport
  • 173 Harsh environmental conditions / lack of adequate shelter, food, water
  • 52 Violence
  • 46 Accidental death
  • 17 Sickness / lack of access to adequate healthcare
MORE FINDINGS
  • The remains of 19.760 people who lost their lives during migration have not been recovered
  • The most deadly route is the Central Mediterranean route, where at least 18,593 people have died since 2014

Cause of Death;

  1. 27,633 Drowning
  2. 7.875 Mixed or unknown
  3. 3.494 Vehicle accident / death linked to hazardous transport
  4. 2,584 Harsh environmental conditions / lack of adequate shelter, food, water
  5. 2,348 Violence
  6. 1142 Sickness / lack of access to adequate healthcare
  7. 435 Accidental deaths

 

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