A report published this week pointed to a significant increase in the number of deaths and disappearances during unregulated migration across the world. In 2022, the total number stood at 6,877, compared to 6,086 in 2021, with the majority coming from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
According to data from the Missing Migrants Project of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 3,789 people lost their lives in 2022 in the MENA region, on land and sea routes to Europe and other regions. , as they sought safety and better living conditions.
Regarding overland fatalities in North Africa during the same year, the project recorded 203 cases, more than half of which occurred while crossing the Sahara Desert (125 people). It is highlighted that most of the deaths documented on land routes in North Africa in 2022 occurred in Libya (117), followed by Algeria (54), Morocco (13), Tunisia (10) and of Egypt (9).
According to the IOM, recent figures for land routes represent a 39% drop from 2021, when 330 deaths were recorded in North Africa, including 227 during the crossing of the Sahara Desert.
Based on available demographic information on a small number of migrants, the main countries of origin for this category are Sudan (43), Chad (25) and Guinea (16). The main causes of death on these routes are car accidents (41%), followed by environmental conditions, lack of food, water and shelter (31%).
According to the report’s writers, deaths and disappearances at sea are more tragic than on land. At least 2,406 people died in 2022 crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe, making it the deadliest year on this route since 2017, when 3,139 cases were recorded, according to the report.
Most deaths have been recorded on the central Mediterranean route from Libya and Tunisia to Italy, with at least 1,417 cases, followed by the western Mediterranean route, linking Algeria and Morocco to Spain, with at least 611 cases.
IOM pointed out that the vast majority (61%) of migrants who died in the Mediterranean Sea have not been found, and the identities of most of those who died on the central Mediterranean route in 2022 remain unknown.
However, among the 1,330 identified victims, available demographic data shows that Africa is the main region of origin, with 891 deaths, including 485 people from North Africa, as well as 307 people from other Arab countries of the Middle East who lost their lives in the Mediterranean.
The report also highlights that of the 3,329 people identified by the Missing Migrants Project among all migration-related deaths in 2022, 828 people were from Arab countries. Of these, 78% perished in the Mediterranean (643), while 74 people died on the Atlantic route west of Africa (all Moroccans), 58 in North Africa (from Sudan and Egypt) , 35 in Europe (mainly Syrians) and 16 in West Asia (virtually all Syrians passing through Turkey), as well as Sudanese in West Africa.
The available demographic data indicate that the main countries of origin are Algeria (213), the Syrian Arab Republic (177), Tunisia (160), Morocco (106), Sudan (76) and Egypt ( 42).
The International Organization for Migration points out in its report that the figures recorded by the Missing Migrants Project are far lower than the actual number of deaths due to the lack of information and the absence of official and systematic reporting mechanisms. deaths and disappearances. Civil society faces many difficulties in documenting migration-related incidents in the region, the same source points out.
The report concludes that ” the scarcity of official data and the difficulties of access by civil society and international organizations to the routes taken by migrants means that there are likely to be many more deaths that are not documented“.