(FILE) A group of migrants walk along the Rio Bravo, on the border between the US and Mexico, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, 5 September 2023. EFE/ Luis Torres

2022 was deadliest year ever for migrants in Americas

Geneva, Switzerland, Sep 12 (EFE).- A record number of migrants died or disappeared in the Americas last year, the International Organization for Migration said Tuesday.

At least 1,457 migrants died or went missing in 2022, with nearly half (686) of those deaths or disappearances recorded on the US-Mexican border, making it the deadliest migration land route in the world, the IOM said.

The figure breaks the previous record, set a year earlier in 2021, by 10%, the IOM said, based on data provided by the Missing Migrants Project, which has been tracking migratory flows around the world since 2014.

In addition to the 686 dead or missing on Mexico’s northern border, another 257 victims were recorded last year on the maritime route to the United States through the Caribbean, 141 in the Panamanian Darien gap (which links South America with Central America) and 104 between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

“These alarming figures are a stark reminder of the need for decisive action by States,” said Michele Klein Solomon, IOM Regional Director for Central and North America and the Caribbean.

“Enhancing data collection is crucial. Ultimately, what is needed is for countries to act on the data to ensure safe, regular migration routes are accessible,”  she added.

The IOM report found that while deaths and disappearances in the US-Mexico border fell by 8% compared to the previous year, the 2022 figures are likely higher “due to missing official data, including information from Texas border county coroner’s offices and the Mexican search and rescue agency.”

Nearly half of the deaths on that northern Mexican border last year (307) occurred during the crossing through the dangerous deserts of Sonora and Chihuahua, the IOM noted, indicating that this figure is even higher than the number of migrants who died while crossing the North African Sahara (at least 212 last year).

The IOM also noted the increase in deaths and disappearances in the Caribbean, with 350 documented in 2022 compared to 245 in 2021 and less than 170 in all previous years, with most of the victims coming from Haiti, Cuba and Dominican Republic. EFE