Regional Grouping: 
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Date of Publication: 
Tuesday, February 7, 2017

IOM reports that 11,010 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 5 February – about 85 percent arriving in Italy and the rest in Greece. This compares with 74,808 during the first 36 days of 2016. IOM has registered 4,879 more arrivals since its last report (3/2), of whom 1,596 were rescued at sea during the weekend in 15 different operations.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports an estimated 255 deaths at sea on various routes, compared with 380 during the first 37 days of 2016. The lone death recorded since IOM’s last report on Friday (3/2) was that of an Ethiopian woman recorded off Greece over the weekend. The latest figures do not include several deaths reported off Libya on Saturday (4/2). (See below.)

IOM Athens reports that 1,651 migrants or refugees have arrived by sea in Greece so far this year – less than 2.5 percent of arrivals in Greece by this time last year. On Friday (3/2), IOM reported the arrival of 142 migrants to the islands of Lesvos, Samos and Kalymnos. This was one of the few times this year that over a hundred arrivals have been recorded in a single day.

On Sunday, IOM Turkey reported that the Turkish Coast Guard, which recovered the remains of the Ethiopian woman, also rescued 45 people, including 21 Syrians, 18 Afghans, two Cameroon nationals, one Ethiopian, one Eritrean, one Bangladeshi and one Congolese national.

IOM Libya reported that on Friday and Saturday (03 and 04/02), four rescue-at-sea operations were conducted, resulting in the rescue of 592 migrants off western Libya.

On Friday, 300 migrants (265 men, 30 women and five children—including one new-born) were rescued off Az Zawiyah. The survivors were from Sierra Leone, Gambia and Nigeria.

On Saturday, 113 migrants were rescued off Tripoli, including 98 men, 10 women and five children from several African countries. The migrants came from Ghana (22 men), Nigeria (18 men, 7 women, at least one of them pregnant), Senegal (19 men), Cote d’Ivoire (14 men), Sierra Leone (nine men, one woman), Benin (one family of three men, one woman and four children), the Gambia (nine men), Liberia (two men), Niger (one man), Burkina Faso (one man) and Mali (one new born child and one woman). The migrants were taken to the Triq Al Shook detention centre.

Also on Saturday, 118 migrants – 37 women, of whom one was pregnant, three children (one-month, two years and three years) and 78 men from Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Cote d’Ivoire were rescued off Zuwara. IOM is coordinating medical assistance with the Libyan Red Crescent and an NGO medical partner – STACO.

Also on Saturday, 61 migrants were rescued off Az Zawiyah. The rescued included 26 men from Bangladesh, 26 men of different African nationalities (most from the Gambia), seven women from different African countries, two of whom are pregnant, and two children. One of the pregnant women was taken to Az Zawiyah Central Hospital.

Witnesses said their rubber boat started its journey to Italy in Subratah, but apparently left without a compass, GPS or satellite phone. After about six hours, the boat started to take on water and began to sink. Survivors say they spotted a helicopter. But despite people waving and screaming for help, it disappeared. People then started falling into the water.

“I saw three children, aged 3-5 years old, sinking and I wasn't able to rescue them because they sank and disappeared too fast,” explained a 30-year-old man from Nigeria. He said that only people wearing life vests survived. He did not know how many lost their lives at sea.

IOM has visited Triq Al Shook and is in the process of distributing non-food items and hygiene kits, including blankets and clothes, and is coordinating with partners to assist with medical support. IOM’s protection team has also visited the detention centre and is in the process of conducting vulnerability tests to assess the needs of the most vulnerable migrants.

So far in 2017, 1,401 migrants have been rescued off the Libyan coast and 42 bodies have been retrieved in Subratah, Zuwara, Tripoli and Tajoura.

Type of Resource: 
Research & Analysis
Publication Year: