Over 3,100 people died on migration routes in 2020, IOM

Monitoring made difficult by pandemic

18 December, 12:59

    (ANSAmed) - GENEVA, DECEMBER 18 - Over 3,100 people lost their lives in 2020 on migration routes in the world despite limits to movement imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Thursday, the Missing Migrants project of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) had recorded this year some 3,174 deaths on migration routes around the world, a drop from the 5,327 in 2019. The decrease in the number of deaths recorded on dangerous migration routes is not necessarily an indication that the number of lives lost did actually drop in 2020 since COVID-19 complicated also the IOM's ability both to collect data on deaths during migration and to monitor specific routes, the organization said in a statement issued on Friday in Geneva as part of International Migrants Day. So far this year, at least 1,773 migrants died on internal routes within Europe and ones toward it, accounting for most victims recorded in the world. This figure is lower than the previous year but IOM noted that there had been a rise in some routes. For example, at least 593 migrants died during journeys towards Spain's Canary Islands, compared with the 210 that died in 2019 and 45 in 2018. An increase in deaths was recorded in South America as well with 104 lives lost - most of whom were Venezuelan migrants - compared with under 40 in all the previous recorded years. IOM noted that there is not sufficient evidence to corroborate information received on some shipwrecks.

    The Missing Migrants project is aware of at least 14 ''invisible'' shipwrecks in which an alleged about 600 lives were lost but which could not be included in this year's figure.

    As part of International Migrants Day, the IOM underscored the significant contribution by migrants even during the pandemic and the numerous challenges that they must face. Despite restrictions on travel and mobility linked to COVID-19, tens of thousands of people in desperate circumstances continue to undertake dangerous journeys through deserts, jungles, and seas, and thousands die along the way, the IOM noted. (ANSA).

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