UN says 2023 deadliest year for migrants in a decade

Last year's death toll was also 20% up on 2022. The Mediterranean route from North Africa to Europe remains the riskiest for migrants

A high number of deaths were recorded across Asia and Africa. (photo: DW)
A high number of deaths were recorded across Asia and Africa. (photo: DW)
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DW

The United Nations said last year was deadliest for migrants since 2014, with least 8,565 people died on migration routes worldwide.

"The 2023 death toll represents a tragic increase of 20 percent compared to 2022, highlighting the urgent need for action to prevent further loss of life," the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said in a report released on Wednesday,

The organization's Missing Migrants project documents worldwide deaths and disappearances of migrants.

"These horrifying figures collected by the Missing Migrants Project are also a reminder that we must recommit to greater action that can ensure safe migration for all, so that ten years from now, people aren't having to risk their lives in search o a better one," IOM Deputy Director General Ugochi Daniels said.

Migrants forced to take dangerous routes

Last year's death toll surpassed the previous record of 8,084 in 2016.

The IOM said that a lack of safe, regulated pathways forces thousands to undertake dangerous migration routes.

The most dangerous path for migrants remained the Mediterranean Sea, with at least 3,129 deaths in 2023 as migrants attempted to reach Europe from North Africa. This figure represents the highest death toll on this route since 2017.

A high number of migrant deaths were recorded across Africa (1,866) and Asia (2,138) in 2023. In Africa, many of them happened in the Sahara Desert and the sea route to Spain's Canary Islands. In Asia, a large number of Rohingya and Afghan refugees lost their lives.

Drowning accounted for slightly over half of the total migrant deaths in 2023, said the report. Nine percent of the deaths were caused by vehicle accidents and 7% to violence.

So far, 512 migrants have already lost their lives this year.

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Published: 07 Mar 2024, 12:47 PM
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