Migrants and Refugees

1 out of 3 migrants are risking it all fleeing conflict, reveals IOM

Last year was the deadliest on record, with 8,541 migrant victims. Nearly 60 per cent of deaths were linked to drowning

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So far in 2024, the trends are just as alarming. Along the Mediterranean sea route alone – while arrivals this year are significantly lower (16,818) compared to the same period in 2023 (26,984) – the number of deaths is nearly as high as before, with 956 registered since 1 January.   

Unidentified, under-reported 

IOM noted that that the number of unidentified deaths remains high – more than two in three migrants – leaving families and communities to grapple with the lack of clarity about what happened to a friend or relative. To date, the UN agency’s Missing Migrant Project data shows that the remains of 26,666 people who died while migrating have not been recovered.

“Despite the many lives lost whose identities remain unknown, we know that almost 5,500 females have perished on migration routes during the last 10 years and the number of identified children is nearly 3,500,” said Ugochi Daniels, IOM Deputy Director General for Operations, commenting on the recent findings. However, the report suggests, the true number of deaths of women and children is likely far higher: there are more than 37,000 dead for whom no information on sex or age is available.   

Call for safe pathways 

More than one in three deceased migrants whose origin could be identified come from countries in conflict or with large refugee populations, the study finds. That highlights dangers faced by those attempting to flee conflict zones without safe pathways, the agency underscored. The deadliest route is the Central Mediterranean, where at least 23,092 people have died since 2014.

“The toll on vulnerable populations and their families urges us to turn the attention on the data into concrete action,” Ms. Daniels said, advocating for more detailed information collection that would facilitate creating safer migration routes for people fleeing conflict and distress in their home countries.

IOM has adopted a new Strategic Plan 2024-2028 that aims to save lives and protect people on the move as its first objective. To do so, the UN migration agency is calling on countries and other partners to work jointly to end migrant deaths and address the impacts of the tens of thousands of lives lost on migratory routes worldwide.  



  1. Are there any specific measures being proposed to ensure the safety of migrants during their journeys?

    1. Yes, there are ongoing discussions about implementing safer pathways for migrants, especially women and children. Initiatives such as increased search and rescue operations, providing better information and support, as well as addressing root causes of migration are being considered to enhance safety during their journeys.

  2. It is heartbreaking to see the statistics revealing the risks migrants take to flee conflict. The number of unidentified deaths is alarming, leaving families in uncertainty. Ugochi Daniels’ statement sheds light on the tragic toll on women and children. We must urgently call for safe pathways for migration.

  3. It’s heartbreaking to see the alarming statistics of migrant deaths, especially among women and children. The lack of clarity on the identities of the victims is a tragedy that needs urgent attention. We must advocate for safe pathways to prevent more lives from being lost in such desperate journeys.

  4. It’s heartbreaking to see the devastating impact of conflicts forcing so many migrants to take dangerous journeys. The statistics on deaths, especially of women and children, highlight the urgent need for safer migration pathways. These lives lost deserve to be properly acknowledged and remembered.

  5. Are there any specific efforts being made to address the issue of unidentified deaths and provide closure to families?

    1. Yes, efforts are being made to address the issue of unidentified deaths. IOM has been working tirelessly to enhance data collection and identification processes to help provide closure to families of the victims. It’s crucial to remember and honor each life lost, regardless of whether they are identified or not.

  6. It’s heartbreaking to see that so many migrants, especially women and children, are losing their lives while seeking safety. The numbers highlighted by the IOM report are staggering, and it’s essential for governments and organizations to prioritize creating safe pathways for those fleeing conflict.

  7. It’s heartbreaking to see the statistics showing the risks migrants take, especially women and children. The lack of clarity surrounding unidentified deaths only adds to the tragedy. We must urgently prioritize creating safe pathways for those seeking refuge. #HumanitarianCrisis

  8. Are there any measures being discussed to prevent such tragic numbers of deaths among migrants fleeing conflict?

    1. There has been ongoing discussion about implementing safer migration pathways to reduce the number of fatalities among migrants fleeing conflict. Various organizations and governments are working to address this pressing issue and enhance the safety of these vulnerable populations.

  9. It is heartbreaking to read these statistics. Every number represents a life lost, a family shattered. We must urgently work towards creating safe pathways for migrants to prevent more tragedies like these. May those who perished find peace, and may we strive to ensure that their identities are not forgotten.

  10. Are there any initiatives being discussed to address the high number of unidentified deaths among migrants, especially women and children?

  11. Are there any specific initiatives being proposed to address the high number of unidentified deaths among migrants?

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