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Published on January 17th, 2018 | by Georgia Archonti

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Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 165,409 in 2017 with Major Uptick in Western Route

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 165,409 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 6 December, with nearly 20,000 of those arriving to Spain via the Western Mediterranean route. While the total number of arrivals to Europe across the Mediterranean is about half compared with the same period last year, the number of arrivals using the Western Mediterranean route to Spain is nearly triple that of last year, while deaths on the Western route have increased more than 40 per cent compared with 2016.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reports that arrivals to Spain in 2017 through 7 December totalled 19,977.  This is a marked increase in use of the Spanish route, given that only 8,000 migrants entered Europe across the Mediterranean via Spain in all of 2016.  Already in 2017, 206 migrants died at sea using the Western Mediterranean route compared with 128 deaths along that route in all of last year.

Arrivals by sea to Italy, primarily departing from Libya, remain about one-third lower than 2016, according to IOM, the UN Migration Agency’s Rome office.  According to official figures of the Italian Ministry of Interior, 117,121 migrants arrived by sea to Italy this year: nearly 33 per cent less than the 181,346 migrants who arrived to Italy in the same period in 2016.

IOM staff are deployed at the main landing points in Sicily (including Lampedusa), Calabria and Apulia and provide legal assistance to those arriving by sea, monitor the reception conditions and support the authorities in the identification of vulnerable groups.

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