Geneva, Oct 25 (EFE).- At least 5,684 migrants have died while trying to reach Europe since the beginning of 2021, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported Tuesday.
Some 2,836 people died or went missing on the central Mediterranean route, through which migrants leaving from Libya, Tunisia and Algeria usually attempt to enter Italy or Malta.
Another 1,532 perished on the western route to the Spanish Canary Islands, the IOM has documented.
“These continuing deaths are another grim reminder that more legal and safe pathways to migration are desperately needed,” IOM expert Julia Black said.
Figures in both routes exceed those recorded in the previous year (2019-2020), the IOM highlighted, saying the real numbers could be even higher since not all deaths and disappearances have been registered.
Since 2021, an increase has been documented in the number of migrant deaths on other routes too such as the Turkey-Greece land border (126), the Western Balkans route (69), the English Channel crossing (53), the Belarus-European Union borders (23).
At least 17 Ukrainian died fleeing the conflict to other European countries, according to the IOM.
A total of 252 people lost their lives in forced expulsions by European authorities since 2021, including 97 in the central Mediterranean, 70 in the eastern Mediterranean and 58 on the Turkey-Greece land border.
Another 23 died on the western Mediterranean route, and four on the border between Belarus and Poland.
Such cases “are nearly impossible to verify in full due to the lack of transparency, lack of access, and the highly politicized nature of such events, and as such these figures are likely an underestimate of the true number of deaths,” the IOM said.
Since IOM started documenting deaths in 2014, more than 29,000 people died trying to reach Europe and over 17,000 others are “listed without any information on country of origin.”
Among those identified, some 791 came from Syria, 695 from Morocco, 625 from Algeria, 384 from Tunisia, 333 from Senegal, 312 from Eritrea and 270 from Afghanistan, according to IOM data. EFE