A HORRIFIC record-breaking number of migrants died crossing the Mediterranean in 2015, a new report has revealed.
More than 3,770 are estimated to have died over the year as tens of thousands attempted to reach Europe as many fled war-torn countries in the Middle East and West Africa.
The majority of all migrant deaths around the world happened in the Mediterranean, with more than 4,350 migrants in total dying globally, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimated through its Missing Migrants Project database.
Last year’s numbers for the Mediterranean tragically trumped 2014 when about 3,270 people died crossing the Mediterranean.
The heart-wrenching image of three-year-old Syrian, Alan Kurdi’s body being carried up a Turkish beach by a policeman sparked concern around the world in September.
His mother Rehana and brother Ghalib, five, also drowned as they tried to cross the Mediterranean from Turkey to Greece.
The deadliest month in 2015 was April when nearly 1,250 migrants died, with most dying in the worst tragedy on record involving migrants crossing the perilous sea from North Africa.
It was estimated 800 migrants died when their overcrowded vessel capsized off the coast of Libya leaving just 28 survivors who were rescued and brought to Italy.
A central Mediterranean route mainly used by smugglers operating from the Libyan coast was where 77 per cent of the deaths occurred.
However, the rate of deaths on that route was down by nine per cent compared to 2014, with 18.5 deaths per every 1,000 travellers in 2015.
As people get more desperate more routes are being used, with 97 per cent of Mediterranean migrant deaths in 2014 happening along the same route.
The eastern Mediterranean route was the scene of 21 per cent of 2015’s deaths while only one per cent occurred there in 2014.
And 32 migrants died attempting to get to the Canary Islands, off the west coast of Morocco.
Globally, the second most deadly region was south east Asia, mostly in the Bay of Bengal, the Andaman Sea, Malaysia and Thailand, where at least 800 migrant deaths took place.
Along the US-Mexico border and within Mexico, there have been at least 330 deaths recorded this year.
IOM Director General, William Lacy Swing, called the numbers “shocking and inexcusable” and called on the international community to “act now” to stop the growing trend.
He said: “Migration has been the major theme of 2015, with record numbers of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe, fleeing from conflict and acute poverty.
“Throughout the year, we have been reminded that much of human mobility is not voluntary and tragically we have seen so many who felt they had no option but to leave their beloved homelands and were lost at sea, in the deserts or trapped in the back of lorries they had hoped would carry them to a safer and better life.”
Mr Swing said the world needs to change from the “current toxic migration narrative” to become more historically accurate, especially looking at how migration has been “overwhelmingly positive”.
Source : Express UK