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Thousands die while trying to enter Europe, says IOM

Courtesy: Dawn News

WASHINGTON: Since 2014 as many as 52,067 people have died or gone missing while trying to enter prosperous countries in search of a better life, according to a report released this week.

Data released by the Missing Migrants Project of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) shows that the majority died while trying to cross the seas to Europe.

The report lists drowning as the cause of 21,563 deaths while 2,693 died of mixed or unknown reasons. Harsh environmental conditions, lack of adequate shelter, food and water were blamed for 1,385 deaths.

Unexplained violence caused 991 deaths and 897 died of sickness or lack of access to medication. Vehicle accidents caused 893 deaths and 844 died of other accidental reasons. The majority _ 25,385 _ died or went missing in the Mediterranean region while trying to enter Europe from the Libyan route. And 928 people disappeared after entering Europe.

The IOM project recorded 4,897 deaths or disappearances in 2022 while 28 died or went missing in the first week of the new year.

The highest number of deaths — 8,084 — happened in 2016 and the second highest — 6,714 — in 2015. In 2017, it fell to 6,284  from an all-time high of 8,084 in 2016. In 2018, it fell further to 4,987. In 2019, deaths increased to 5,409, but came down to 4,904 in 2020. In 2021, IOM reported 4,469 deaths, which rose to 4,904 last year.

Five people died and 10 were missing after an overcrowded boat carrying refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean from Tunisia to Italy sank.

In recent months, hundreds have drowned off the Tunisian coast, with an increase in the frequency of attempted crossings from Tunisia and Libya to Italy.

Italy’s right-wing government has approved new measures to fine charities which rescue asylum-seekers at sea and impound their ships if they break new rules, possibly putting thousands of people’s lives in danger.

Top 10 countries

Four South Asian nations — Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan — are on the list of top 10 emigration countries.

The latest UN data shows that India has the largest number of natives living abroad with 17.9 million people in total. India is followed by Mexico with 11.1 million, Russia with 10.8 million, China with10.5 million and Syria with 8.5 million.

In South Asia, India is followed by Bangladesh with 7.4 million,Pakistan with 6.3 million. Afghanistan, which has a total population of only 40 million, has 5.9 million citizens living abroad. Ukraine is eighth on the list with 6.1 million emigrants. Pakistanis and Afghans often use the so-called “donkey-route” for entering Europe, which goes through Iran and Turkiye to Greece and other European destinations.

It is considered one of the most dangerous routes. Many die on the way while many more are kidnapped and tortured by criminal gangs in Iran and Turkiye.

They are released only after their families pay ransom to the agents of these gangs in Pakistan. This illegal immigration has also strained Pakistan’s relations with Turkiye.

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