30,000 Irregular Migration Deaths, Disappearances Between 2014-2018: IOM Report


Date Publish: 
01/11/2019

Tags: 
muertes, migración irregular

Berlin – At least 30,510 people died during irregular migration between 2014 and 2018, the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Missing Migrants Project reports. More than 19,000 deaths and disappearances were recorded due to drowning, not only in the Mediterranean Sea, but also in the Rio Grande, the Bay of Bengal, and many other overseas routes. 

Due to the lack of official sources of information on deaths during migration, and the corresponding lack of detail on most of those who die during migration, these figures are best understood as a minimum estimate.  

Nearly half of the five-year total fatalities of at least 14,795 men, women and children were recorded on the Central Mediterranean route between North Africa and Italy. The Missing Migrants Project estimates that there were at minimum 17,644 lives lost at sea on all three trans-Mediterranean routes in the last five years, equivalent in these five years to roughly ten times the number of people who drowned when the luxury liner Titanic sank in 1912. 

Deaths recorded during migration throughout Africa comprise the second-largest regional total of the 30,000 deaths recorded since 2014, with 6,629 fatalities recorded since 2014. Nearly 4,000 of those deaths occurred in Northern Africa, where a lack of reliable data and extensive anecdotal reports indicate that many more migrants have died than are recorded. 

In Asia, where data are similarly scarce, the deaths of more than 2,900 people were recorded during migration, including 2,191 in Southeast Asia and 531 in the Middle East. 

At least 2,959 people died migrating in the Americas in the last five years, more than 60 per cent of whom (at least 1,871) lost their lives on the border between Mexico and the United States. More than 1,000 deaths were recorded in the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean between 2014 and 2018, although the difficulty in obtaining reliable reports – particularly at sea or through remote jungle areas – means that the true number of migrant deaths is likely far higher. 

“Irregular migration poses significant risks to those who undertake such journeys, and safe legal pathways are urgently needed so that fewer people resort to this option,” said Dr. Frank Laczko, director of IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC). “Even though many focus on the Mediterranean, the truth of the matter is that people die on migratory routes worldwide.”  

The main causes of death recorded in the Missing Migrants Project dataset speak to the hazardous transportation and natural conditions that migrants encounter when they travel irregularly. In addition to the 19,000+ deaths and disappearances recorded due to drowning, another 3,800 individuals died due to harsh natural conditions en route – including exposure, dehydration, and exhaustion – or due to sickness combined with lack of access to medicines.   

For more than 2,000 individuals, cause of death remains unknown. For many people, their remains were recovered days, weeks or months after they died en route – often rendering it impossible for authorities to determine a cause of death. The bodies of many more are neither discovered nor recovered. In the Mediterranean, reports from shipwreck survivors indicate that, conservatively, 11,500 have been lost at sea over the last five years – whose remains have never been found. 

Little is known about the identities of the 30,510 deceased recorded by IOM’s Missing Migrants Project in the past five years. Information on age and gender is available for just over one in four individuals: nearly 1,600 of the dead were children, 1,700 were women, and just over 5,000 were men. Similarly, the country of origin is available for less than half of the deceased recorded between 2014 and 2018.  

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff based at its Global Migration Data Analysis Centre but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial.  

To learn more about how data on migrant deaths and disappearances are collected, click here  

For more information contact IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre:  Julia Black, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int; Kate Dearden, Tel: +49 30 278 778 32, Email: kdearden@iom.int; or Marta Sanchez, Tel: + 49 30 278 778 28, Email: msanchez@iom.int


It’s Time to Think Universal!

Date Publish: 
22 / 03 / 2019

Geneva – IOM´s successful Tuberculosis (TB) control efforts have surpassed their targets, benefiting communities in countries of origin and destination for migrants around the world. IOM´s successful Tuberculosis (TB) control efforts have surpassed their targets, benefiting communities in countries of origin and destination for migrants around the world. The sustained high treatment success rate is largely attributed to early detection, active case finding, directly observed treatment (DOT) and targeted patient-centred, migration-sensitive care. 

In today’s increasingly mobile and interconnected world, with about 258 million international and 760 million internal migrants[1], migration must be recognized as a social determinant of health, impacting upon every individual’s vulnerability and well-being. Migration also profoundly affects the lives of families back home, as well as people in communities of origin, transit and destination world-wide.

Despite well-established diagnosis and treatment regimens, TB remains a public health burden in many parts of the world and a leading infectious killer, with an estimated 10 million new cases andapproximately 1.3 million deaths in 2017[2], disproportionately affecting poor and marginalized populations, such as migrants. TB prevention and control efforts often do not address the specific vulnerabilities of migrants, which leads to delayed diagnosis and/or discontinued treatment.

The way in which many migrants travel, live and work, can carry risks for their physical and mental well-being.   Many work in dangerous, difficult and demeaning jobs, and live in isolation and sub-standard housing. Others may be detained in over-crowded detention facilities or live in camps as refugees or internally displaced persons. Migrants are thus among the vulnerable groups that face a particularly high level of TB risk factors.

In addition, migrants face barriers to accessing health services due to language and cultural difference, and administrative hurdles. Migrants are often excluded from social protection in health and are invisible to Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programmes. As a result, many migrants pay out-of-pocket to get the health services they need, which may result in catastrophic health expenditure, delayed and substandard care.

It’s time for inclusion of migrants!  Worldwide, in 2018, IOM conducted more than 376,800 pre-departure health assessments for migrants and refugees and detected 584 active cases of TB, which translates to a TB detection rate of 155 per 100,000 health assessments. Active TB cases were either confirmed by sputum culture or diagnosed based on clinical and radiological findings. IOM works in collaboration with National TB Programs and is committed to accelerate the end of TB through the strengthening of migrant-sensitive health systems, able to assess and focus on the specific vulnerabilities and conditions of the migrant population. (see video with story from Jordan)   

It's Time to set ambitious goals for treatment success, which is possible based on the success story from IOM’s Migration Health Assessment Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, where DOT clinics surpassed targets with comprehensive care, by including active reach-out to patients and nutritional support, ensuring that neither patients nor their households suffer catastrophic costs due to TB, a key element in achieving the target 3.8 of the Sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Successful treatment of TB hinges on DOT and patient-centered, migration-sensitive care, where an individual’s specific health needs, migration related vulnerabilities and desired health outcomes are taken into consideration. Treatment of persons testing positive is a core part of IOM’s health assessments for migrants, including refugees prior to resettlement. From 2010 to 2016, IOM’s Migration Health Assessment Centre in Kenya diagnosed 426 cases of active TB, treating 363 of them at IOM Kenya’s TB DOT clinics, while the others were referred for treatment. IOM Kenya’s TB DOT clinics sustained high treatment success rates over this period, ranging from 90% to 100%.

It’s time to be accountable to the TB commitments. IOM’s experience has shown that failing to address the health of migrants has severe consequences for the well-being of millions of migrants and communities of origin, transit and destination. Migrants urgently need to be included at global, national and local prevention and control strategies to end the TB epidemic, in line with the objectives of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Resolution 70.15 of the World Health Assembly on Promoting the health of refugees and migrants (2017).

Moreover, the End TB Strategy, the Moscow Declaration and the UN High Level Meeting Declaration “United to End Tuberculosis” afford a tremendous opportunity to ensure and commit at the highest level to not leave migrants behind and promote cross-border collaboration amongst countries towards reducing TB and HIV burden. Jacqueline Weekers, Director of IOM’s Migration Health Division said: “Ending TB means addressing the intrinsic linkages between population mobility and tuberculosis as well as acknowledging that UHC is only real if high risks groups are accounted for”.

For more information please contact IOM HQ

Carlos Van der Laat, Tel +14227179459, Email: cvanderlaat@iom.int