GENEVA, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- At least 30,510 deaths occurred between 2014 and 2018 during irregular migration around the world, the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a report Friday.
More than 19,000 deaths and disappearances were recorded due to drowning, not only in the Mediterranean Sea but also in the Rio Grande, the Bay of Bengal and many other overseas routes, said the IOM citing data gathered by its Missing Migrants Project.
Nearly half of the five-year total fatalities of at least 14,795 men, women and children were recorded on the central Mediterranean route between North Africa and Italy.
The Missing Migrants Project estimates that at least 17,644 lives were lost at sea on all three trans-Mediterranean routes in the last five years, equivalent to roughly 10 times the number of people who drowned when the luxury liner Titanic sank in 1912.
"Irregular migration poses significant risks to those who undertake such journeys, and safe, legal pathways are urgently needed so that fewer people resort to this option," said Dr. Frank Laczko, director of IOM's Global Migration Data Analysis Centre.
"Even though many focus on the Mediterranean, the truth of the matter is that people die on migratory routes worldwide," he said.
Due to the lack of official information on deaths during migration, and a lack of detail on most of those who die during migration, the IOM said the figures are best understood as a minimum estimate.
Deaths recorded during migration throughout Africa comprise the second-largest regional total of the 30,000 deaths logged since 2014, with 6,629 fatalities recorded since 2014.
Nearly 4,000 of those deaths occurred in northern Africa, where a lack of reliable data and extensive anecdotal reports indicate that many more migrants have died than are recorded.
In Asia, where data are similarly scarce, the deaths of more than 2,900 people were recorded during migration, including 2,191 in Southeast Asia and 531 in the Middle East.
At least 2,959 people died migrating in the Americas in the last five years, more than 60 percent of whom (at least 1,871) lost their lives on the border between Mexico and the United States.
There were more than 1,000 deaths in the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean between 2014 and 2018, although the difficulty in obtaining reliable reports -- particularly at sea or through remote jungle areas -- means that migrant deaths were likely far higher, said the IOM.