More than 50,000 people have died on global migration routes since 2014, according to the latest numbers released by the United Nations.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), which is part of the UN, launched its Global Migration Data Analysis Centre in Berlin in 2015 at the height of the so-called “refugee crisis” of 2015 and 2016. The organization collects and analyzes data on migration around the globe.
As part of its research, the Global Migration Data Analysis Centre has been looking into migrants death since 2014 in the “Missing Migrants Project.” In its latest report, it highlighted that more than 50,000 people are known to have died on their migration journeys since then.
The document revealed some other shocking numbers as well: About two-thirds of the victims (more than 30,000 cases) have unknown identities, where neither their nationalities nor their background could be established. This means that their family members could not be notified about their deaths.
Of the migrants who had died on their migration routes and whose nationality could be successfully established, more than 9,000 were reported as originating from African countries, and more than 6,500 were identified as migrants coming from Asia.
Thousands of deaths en route to Europe
The three most important countries of origin in the study were identified as Afghanistan, Syria and Myanmar — all three of which have suffered internal conflicts for years, with the violence and uncertainty often forcing people to flee and seek refuge in other countries.
A total of 1,795 victims were reported to have come from Afghanistan, while 1,467 migrant deaths were identified as people from Myanmar — mainly Rohingya refugees. Meanwhile, 1,118 Syrians were also reported to have died on their migration routes to Europe since 2014. Ethiopians, Mexicans and Moroccans were also high on the number of deaths highlighted in the report.
According to the data collected by the IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre, the most dangerous migration routes are the ones that involve crossing the Mediterranean Sea; at least half of all victims recorded since 2014 had died while trying to make their way to Europe this way since 2014.
Meanwhile, more than one in ten deaths occurred in the Sahara desert, while more than 4,000 people died along the US-Mexico border.
Big numbers, little change
During a press conference highlighting these findings in Berlin, the IOM said that despite the many deaths, governments in countries of origin, transit and destination had done little to protect those hoping to embark on dangerous migrations.
Researchers meanwhile say that the actual number of victims is likely to be well above 50,000 cases, as many of the migrant deaths on the perilous routes are never recorded, and governments are slow to cooperate with helping the IOM gather accurate figures.
“While this haunting milestone is emblematic of the continuing crisis of unsafe migration worldwide, these deaths represent only a fraction of the true total: no state currently publishes figures on migrant deaths,” the IOM said in its report.