The UN’s International Organization for Migration has released new figures, on Wednesday, claiming over 8000 migrants deaths on migration routes last year, making 2023 the deadliest year for migrants for a decade. Although IOM acknowledges the true death toll is likely far higher.

At least 8,565 people died on migration routes worldwide in 2023, making it the deadliest year since records began a decade ago, the UN’s International Organization for Migration said Wednesday.

“The 2023 death toll represents a tragic increase of 20 percent compared to 2022, highlighting the urgent need for action to prevent further loss of life,” the IOM said in a statement.

Last year’s total surpassed the previous record reached in 2016, when 8,084 people died during migration.

The IOM said that because safe and regular migration pathways remain limited, hundreds of thousands of people attempt to migrate every year via irregular routes in unsafe conditions.

The Mediterranean ocean crossing continues to be the deadliest route for migrants, with at least 3,129 deaths and disappearances registered last year.

Slightly more than half of the total migrant deaths in 2023 came as a result of drowning, with nine percent caused by vehicle accidents, and seven percent in violence.

The IOM’s Missing Migrants Project was established in 2014 as an open-access database on migrant deaths and disappearances.

It has since documented more than 63,000 cases worldwide, though the true figure is estimated to be much higher due to challenges in data collection, particularly in remote locations.

With AFP