UN: Over 8,500 Migrant Deaths in 2023


The overall death toll among migrants saw a concerning surge of nearly 20% compared to 2022…reports Asian Lite News

Last year marked a tragic milestone in global migration as 8,565 migrants lost their lives on land and sea routes, representing a record high since the inception of UN migration data collection a decade ago. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) highlighted the Mediterranean Sea as the deadliest route, witnessing a notable increase in deaths, with 3,129 recorded in 2023, up from 2,411 in the previous year. However, this figure pales in comparison to the peak of 5,136 deaths recorded in 2016 amid mass migrations from conflict-ridden nations like Syria and Afghanistan towards Europe.

The overall death toll among migrants saw a concerning surge of nearly 20% compared to 2022, with drowning accounting for the majority of fatalities, claiming approximately 3,700 lives. The Geneva-based migration agency cautioned that these figures likely underestimate the true toll due to challenges in data collection, despite advancements in methodologies.

Ugochi Daniels, IOM’s deputy director general, emphasized the profound human tragedy behind each statistic, acknowledging the lasting impact on families and communities worldwide. The most significant increase in migrant deaths occurred in Asia, where over 2,000 migrants perished, primarily driven by heightened fatalities among Afghans fleeing to neighboring Iran and Rohingya refugees navigating maritime routes.

In Africa, a record number of deaths were reported last year, totaling 1,866, predominantly in the Sahara Desert and along sea routes to the Canary Islands. Challenges persist in accurately documenting fatalities, particularly in remote areas like the perilous “Darien Gap” in Panama, a transit point for migrants from South America heading north.

Established in 2014 following a surge in Mediterranean deaths and migrant influx on Lampedusa, the IOM’s “Missing Migrants” project continues to track these fatalities, shedding light on the human cost of global migration and advocating for enhanced safety measures to mitigate future tragedies.

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