A majority of asylum seekers who die crossing over to Europe by sea are Africans and the fatalities have increased in 2015, a review of migration data by Nation Newsplex reveals.
While the migration crisis in Europe dominated the headlines in the West for much of 2015, the focus has been on the over one million migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean Sea and by land to Europe but not on those who died trying to get there.
Among those travelling by sea over 3,900 died or were missing by December 19, 2015, according to a report by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
Around 5,100 migrants are known to have died around the world during this period, meaning that the Mediterranean deaths accounted for 70 per cent of fatalities, which makes it the most dangerous migration route on earth.
One of the recent tragic incidents took place on November 17 on Greek waters when the country's Coast Guard recovered the remains of nine people – a man, four women and four children.
Nearly half of asylum seekers who perished while crossing the Mediterranean this year were from Sub-Saharan and Horn of Africa, which was in keeping with the trends of previous years. A look at the deaths by region reveals that an additional 11 per cent died in the Sahara, sub-Saharan and East Africa.
Although the data is two weeks short of covering a complete year, the global deaths have surpassed last year’s total by about five percent, while the casualties in the Mediterranean have increase d by 14 per cent.
One in four of the 870,982 asylum seekers to 38 European and six other Western countries in the first eight months of this year were from Syria (207,706), according to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This was followed by Afghanistan with 13 per cent (117,279).
Despite the fact that Africans constitute the largest share of dead migrants, only Somalia is in the top 10 of refugee producing countries. This suggests that African refugees take more risks to beat the barriers to crossing into Europe.
During this period the top recipient of the migrants, the Newsplex analysis shows, was Germany (221,593) – equivalent to one in four asylum seekers. The country took in more migrants than US (81,164), France (34,212), Italy (29,945) United Kingdom (14,447), Canada (7,659) and Japan (2833) combined.
Given the number of people who have crossed the Mediterranean as refugees and migrants so far this year, and conflicts in Syria and elsewhere continuing to displace thousands daily, 2015 is likely to exceed all previous records for global forced migration, the UNHCR warned in a new report released in mid-December.
Although the focus is on Europe, developing countries host over 86 per cent of the world’s refugees, compared to 70 per cent ten years ago, according to UNHCR. Dadaab in Carissa County, Kenya, the largest refugee camp in the world, is home to more than 330,000 refugees – most of whom fled violence and insecurity in neighbouring Somalia.
Statistics from the UN refugee agency shows that in 2014, Turkey had the largest number of refugees (1.59 million).