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News > World

At Least 4,592 Migrants Died or Disappeared During 2018

  • Migrants from Central America board a truck to Tijuana from Mexicali in Mexico, November 2018.

    Migrants from Central America board a truck to Tijuana from Mexicali in Mexico, November 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 January 2019

The International Organization for Migration reported a decrease in deaths since 2017.

According to information published by the International Organization for Migration (OIM), at least 4,592 people died or went missing trying to cross some of the main migratory routes across the world during 2018.


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The organization, backed by the United Nations, published its report Tuesday, saying the number of dead or missing migrants surpassed the 3,000 mark for the fifth time. The list, however, is yet to be completed as the OIM is still collecting data.

The number represents a decrease from the more than 6,000 who died trying to find a better life in 2017, and the organization attributed this to the declining number of people attempting to migrate.

“There are few trustworthy sources of information about the deaths and disappearances due the clandestine nature of undocumented migration,” the OIM report states.

Migrants leave their home countries escaping from internal conflicts or low quality of life, risking their life at dangerous routes aggravated by anti immigration policies adopted by countries with better stability.

Numbers by Region:

- About  2,297 people died trying to cross the Mediterranean, half the total number registered worldwide.

- Almost 110 died trying to reach Europe by land routes.

- At least 564 died in North Africa.

- More than 393 migrants died trying to cross the border between Mexico and the United States.

- About 77 died on their journey through Central America

- Another 21 died crossing borders elsewhere in Latin America.

In the last two weeks of 2018, about 137 people in poor health conditions, including children and women, were rescued as they tried to cross the Mediterranean in inadequate boats.

The report also highlighted that African refugees and migrants were forced to remain on their ships in the Mediterranean, enduring harsh conditions, for two weeks after Italy and Malta refused to take them in.

Also, two Guatemalan children died in U.S. custody after being arrested by immigration authorities for attempting to cross the border illegally from Mexico.

The OIM was founded in 1951 in order to “ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need.”

It currently has 172 member states and another eight holding observer status, with offices in over 100 countries.

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