A lot more refugees than previously thought die on their way to Europe.
This was found in the first systematic research by journalists working
for big household names in the continental European mainstream
According to the newly completed research it is certain that between
2000 and 2013 23,000 refugees perished on their way to Europe
from Africa or Asia. Earlier estimates had been pegged at a number
of "only" about 17,000 deaths.
Big incidents, like the drowning of almost 400 undocumented people
off the coast of Italian island Lampedusa last October, made
international headlines, while smaller tragedies remain unreported.
For example, the 100 people heading for Europe who died in a lorry
when crossing the Sahara dessert between Algeria and Niger less
than a month after the Lampedusa incident did not make it into the
Most of the immigrants who died on their way to Europe over the
past few years, an estimated 18,000 of them, died while traversing
the Mediterranean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean in small, unsound boats.
However, overland smuggling routes are not necessarily better. For
example when trekking over the mountains between Iraq and Turkey,
every year refugees die from the cold.
There is no single European instance compiling statistics about the
number of dead among those trying reach the continent. Whereas
Frontex, the EU agency for border security, maintains a record about
how many undocumented individuals are being arrested, deported
and detained, a Frontex official stated off the record that deceased
refugees are not being registered. As long as these individuals
have not entered Europe they are not yet undocumented, and thus
they are not included in Frontex's statistics.
In the meantime, an almost unnoticed huge humanitarian disaster
is unfolding on the borders of Europe.