Less migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea in 2016 didn’t result in less deaths. In fact, the number of deaths recorded in 2016 was the highest ever recorded by IOM. At least 5079 migrants and refugees perished while trying to reach Europe by sea last year, compared to 3777 in 2015.
Overall, more than 363,000 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 compared to over one million the previous year.
In order to respond to the various needs of rescued migrants and refugees, USAIM has been supporting IOM in its relief efforts in Turkey and Italy.
In partnership with IOM Turkey, USAIM has been funding the distribution of shoes, winter clothes and hypothermia blankets to migrant and refugee children rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard.
In addition, USAIM sponsored 10 unaccompanied migrants selected by IOM Italy to be part of a personal development project. The project aims to enable traumatized children to use their talents and skills to take an active role in defining their future.
“Migrants and refugees are leaving because they believe their lives will be doomed if they stay.”
IOM Director General, William Lacy Swing
Like several millions of Syrians, Abdellatif and his family had to make the difficult decision of leaving their homeland and flee to Turkey after their apartment was shelled. Abdellatif and his family used to have a comfortable life until the war erupted. Their tranquil life turned into a daily nightmare during which survival became their sole objective. After two years living under the bombs, it was enough. The family escaped and found refuge in Turkey.
Abdellatif’s story has become a common one in Turkey. The neighboring country is now home to one of the largest number of refugees in the world, including over 2.7 million Syrian refugees.
Luckily, Abdellatif and his family were supported by IOM as they tried to rebuild their lives in Turkey.
USAIM has partnered with IOM Turkey to support the humanitarian assistance provided to the migrants and refugees rescued at sea. Last year, thanks to our donor's generosity, we provided shoes, clothes, and anti-hypothermia blankets to 1,300 migrants and refugees who were rescued. Additionally, through donors’ contributions, USAIM was able to fund the transportation of 275 refugees to health facilities in Izmir.
Unfortunately, the tragedy is ongoing and the needs are greater than the assistance available.