Over 2,500 people died or went missing while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe by September, stated the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a huge jump from 2022’s figure of 1,680 from the same period.
UNHCR New York office director Ruven Menikdiwela told the UN Security Council in a briefing on Thursday, September 28, that despite the increased number of deaths and accidents, migrants inflow into Europe did not slow down and there is no reason to believe that it will in the near future.
Menikdiwela claimed that at least 186,000 reached Europe through the Mediterranean in the same period.
Almost 130,000 of all those that landed in Europe landed in Italy, with the rest distributed between various other coastal European countries such as Greece and Spain.
The UNHCR reiterated how the land route usually taken by migrants and refugees to reach the sea through sub-Saharan Africa and the sea crossing points in Libya and Tunisia remain extremely dangerous due to wars and local conflicts in the region.
According to Pär Liljert, director of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the total number of dead or missing in the Mediterranean Sea from January to September 2023 was 2,778, slightly higher than the UNHCR figure. IOM claims that of the total, 2,093 died in the central Mediterranean alone, the world’s deadliest sea route.