TRENDS AND KEY FIGURES
As of 31 January, over 7,500 people arrived via the Mediterranean to Europe, an 11% decrease compared to the same month in 2018, when over 8,000 arrived. Consistent with trends in the latter half of 2018, the largest number of arrivals was recorded in Spain, followed by land and sea arrivals to Greece.
ITALY: the number of refugees and migrants arriving by sea in January (202) dropped by 95% compared to last January (4,180).
Most of them had departed from Libya, including a group of 68 rescued by Italian authorities close to Lampedusa, a group of 47 rescued by the NGO Sea Watch off the Libyan coast, and three survivors of a shipwreck in which 117 people are believed to have drowned. In Malta, the 49 people who been rescued in December by the NGOs Sea Watch and Sea Eye were eventually able to disembark, a decision welcomed by UNHCR.
GREECE: 1,851 refugees and migrants arrived by sea to the islands, a 13% increase compared to last January but a 37% decrease compared to December. In January, 42% of arrivals were from Afghanistan, 18% from the State of Palestine, and 9% each from Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Iraq. A further 801 people arrived in the Evros region, including some who arrived by sea, a 51% increase compared to last January.
SPAIN: over 4,600 people crossed the land and sea borders from North Africa in January, an increase of 111% compared to January 2018 (2,200).
As in 2018, most people crossed the sea. People arriving in January were mostly from Guinea (21%), Mali (17%) and Morocco (14%). At the two enclaves, the most common nationalities were Syrians, Algerians and Palestinians. Some 61 people were believed to have died at sea in January, including 53 in a single incident.
WESTERN BALKANS: Movement through the region continued with some 600 new arrivals recorded in Bosnia and Herzegovina in January with a similar number in Serbia. Some 5,400 were believed to be in Bosnia and Herzegovina as of the end of January along with some 4,500 in Serbia.
Dead and missing: In January, an estimated 207 persons died or were presumed dead while trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, of which 144 while crossing from Libya to Italy.
This means that the number of presumed deaths at sea in January is higher than the numbers of arrivals from Libya in January (118). On 18 January, a shipwreck occurred in the Central Mediterranean, some 50 miles north of Garabulli, Libya, reportedly resulting in 117 deaths at sea. Italian authorities are conducting investigations into reported smugglers and circumstances of the rescue. (UNHCR 18 January and 22 January press releases; High Commissioner’s interview).