A total of 2,262 migrants died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean last year, while 113,482 people arrived in Europe by sea, mainly via Spain, according to UNHCR, which reported decreasing numbers compared to 2017.
the number of arrivals by sea was 172,301 and 3139 people were “dead or missing” in their attempt to cross, according to figures updated by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (HCR) on its website. The level of arrivals also fell from the peak of 1.015 million recorded in 2015.
For 2018, if we add nearly 7000 registered migrants in the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in Africa, we obtain a total of 120 205 arrivals in Europe.
Spain returned last year as the first gateway to Europe, with 55,756 arrivals by sea (against 22,103 in 2017). Italy, where the government with very anti-migrant speeches closed ports to humanitarian boats this summer, recorded 23,371 arrivals last year, in free fall compared to 2017 (119,369), and Greece 32,497.
the first country of origin of migrants was Guinea (13,068 persons), followed by Morocco (12,745) and Mali (10,347). Syria was only the fourth country of origin of the arrivals, followed by Afghanistan and Iraq.
The reception of migrants rescued at sea caused a European diplomatic crisis last year after the closure of Italian ports, with several humanitarian ships finding themselves wandering in the Mediterranean for want of knowing where to dock. Each situation was unblocked with an emergency agreement between European countries for the distribution of refugees, which had convinced Spain or Malta to let the ships land their passengers.
“In 2019, it is essential to put an end to the current ship by boat approach,” UNHCR said Sunday urging states to “implement a regional mechanism that gives ship masters clear and predictable guidance on how to where to land refugees and rescued migrants in the Mediterranean “.
On Wednesday, the Maltese authorities agreed to “house” in their waters two German NGO ships carrying 49 rescued migrants to the Mediterranean, due to the deterioration of the conditions on board.