More Migrant Deaths Recorded in January 2016, IOM Reports

World » EU | February 2, 2016, Tuesday // 17:40
Bulgaria: More Migrant Deaths Recorded in January 2016, IOM Reports Refugees and migrants disembark from the Blue Star Patmos ferry at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Greece, February 01, 2016. Photo EPA/BGNES

Four times more deaths in the Mediterranean in January 2016 and thirteen times more arrivals in Greece and Italy have been recorded compared to the same month of 2015, the latest data of the international Organisation for Migration (IOM) shows.

The report released on Tuesday shows that for the period of January 1-31, 368 migrants have died in the waters off Greece and Italy, compared to 82 in January of last year.

The number of fatalities has surged in the last week of January, when 100 men, women and children were found dead near the coasts of Greece, Turkey and Italy.

Children were especially vulnerable during the past month, IOM report shows. The organization estimates that 60 children under the age of 18 died on the so-called Eastern Mediterranean route, bringing to 330 the total number of minors drowning in those waters over the last five months.

Meanwhile, 67,193 migrants have reached the coasts of Greece and Italy in January 2016, which marks a record increase in comparison with the 5,000 migrants recorded to have entered the two countries in January, 2015.

IOM figures show that out of every three migrants or refugees who have entered Europe in the beginning of 2016, was under the age of 18, which marks an increase in the number of accompanied and unaccompanied minors crossing European borders.

By comparison, for the same period in 2015, one in seven migrants or refugees entering Europe was a child. According to IOM data from 2015, a total of 114,026 minors have arrived in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Greece has been the country recording the highest number of migrants crossing its borders, the IOM report reveals. Out of all migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean in January 2016, more than 80% have entered Europe through Greece, accounting to a total of 62,193 migrants.

In comparison, 5,000 migrants or refugees rescued from the vessels leaving North Africa have entered Italy in January 2016, up from 3,528 in January of the previous year.

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Tags: IOM, refugees, migrants, greece, Italy
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