Waves of undocumented migrants are continuing to reach Europe this year, risking their lives for the hope of a better future.
Rabat – At least 2,200 undocumented migrants arrived in Europe via Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, and Malta across the Mediterranean during the first 13 days of 2019, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported on January 15.
The figure represents a slight increase compared to the 1,915 migrants and refugees who entered Europe by sea during the same period last year.
By December 2018, Europe had received 113,145 migrants across the Mediterranean in 2018. Arrivals in Spain accounted for 50 percent of all European ports of entry. Spain received 57,250 irregular migrants who crossed the Mediterranean in 2018 up to December 26.
The western-Mediterranean route via Spain has become the most used one by irregular migrants.
On January 1, Spanish rescue services assisted 111 migrants traveling on three boats in the early hours of the day, according to El Pais.
IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that “1,609 men, women and children have arrived as irregular migrants” to Spain by January 13, accounting for 73 percent of the total undocumented migrants entering Europe via the sea.
The arrivals are “more than the 1,400 arriving through all of January last year” in Spain, added Dodevska.
During the two last weeks, at least 16 people died across the three Mediterranean sea routes, according to IOM.
The total number is very low compared with the 194 deaths recorded during the same period in 2018, which, according to IOM, “was due to a spate of shipwrecks off Libya.”
“At this point in 2017 a total of 1,159 irregular migrants or refugees had landed in either Greece, Spain or Italy after crossing the Mediterranean, and IOM had recorded a total of 12 deaths,” said IOM.
Last year, over 2,242 undocumented migrants died on migratory routes in the Mediterranean, including 769 using the western Mediterranean route from Morocco to Spain. The 769 deaths represents over three times the recorded deaths using the same route in 2017.