Despite the relatively lower numbers of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Europe in recent years, the toll had seen a steep rise, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said.
While reported numbers of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Europe were fewer than in 2015, the journeys were becoming more fatal, said Shabia Mantoo, spokesperson for UNHCR, on Friday.
“Since a peak in 2015, in which more than a million refugees and migrants crossed the Mediterranean to Europe, the numbers of those making these journeys had seen a downward trend,” she told a press briefing.
“In 2021, 123,300 individual crossings were reported, and prior to that 95,800 in 2020, 123,700 in 2019 and 141,500 in 2018,” she added.
In 2021, she said, some 3,231 were recorded as dead or missing at sea in the Mediterranean and the northwest Atlantic, with 1,881 in 2020, 1,510 in 2019, and more than 2,277 in 2018, Xinhua news agency reported.
In recent years UNHCR has continuously warned of the horrific experiences and dangers faced by refugees and migrants who resorted to these journeys, many of whom were fleeing violence and conflict.