• Crisis Severity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 343 Fatalities reported [?]



The central Mediterranean route, from Sub-Saharan Africa, mainly Libya and Tunisia but also Algeria, to Italy has been one of the most active and dangerous routes for people crossing to Europe by sea. Italy recorded around 181,000 sea arrivals in 2016, and 119,000 in 2017, before numbers dropped to 23,400 in 2018.? Since then, arrival numbers have again lowered significantly, 92% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same time period in 2018 (from 6,269 to 524 new sea arrivals). However, the number of people who have died or are missing remain high. ? As of 31 May, 321 people have lost their lives or remain missing on the central Mediterranean route in 2019.  ?

Around 74% of the people embarking on the journey are men. The proportion of unattended minors remains high, at 19%.? Main countries of origin are Tunisia (28% of new arrivals), Algeria (16%), and Iraq (13%). In January, seven people arrived daily in Italy on average, compared to 135 in January 2018.?

The mixed migration movements include refugees fleeing from persecution and conflict in their home countries as well as migrants looking for better economic and social opportunities in Europe. Human rights violations are reported in detention centers, especially in Libya. Protection, food and health concerns are high among the migrants and asylum seekers. ?Many become victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking.?


Latest Developments


30/07 Libya: Up to 150 people are feared dead, after a wooden boat carrying an estimated 350 people, mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa, capsized off the Libyan coast on 25 July. 55 bodies have been recovered as of 27 July. The Libyan coast guards and local fishermen rescued 134 migrants.?

25/07 Libya: On the night of 2 July, two airstrikes hit Tajoura detention centre (DC) in the outskirts of Tripoli, killing at least 60 people, including six children, and wounding 130 more. Before the attack, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) had shared the GPS coordinates of the DC with the parties to the conflict to ensure the safety of civilians. At the time of the airstrikes, over 600 migrants and refugees were inside the DC, including 120 male Africans in the part that was hit. Migrants and refugees trying to flee after the first strike were reportedly fired upon by guards. A number of migrants and refugees were relocated from Tajoura in the days after the event. However, since then, at least 133 migrants and refugees have been transferred to Tajoura after they were intercepted at sea. It is unclear how many migrants and refugees are currently detained in Tajoura. Fighting in Tripoli between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the opposing Government of National Accord (GNA) escalated in April. Migrants and refugees in Tripoli have been particularly impacted by the conflict due to their vulnerable status. To date, some 3,800 migrants and refugees remain detained in government-run centres in and around the frontlines in Tripoli, raising concern for their safety. ?

09/07 Tunisia: On 4 July, a boat carrying over 80 African migrants capsized off the Tunisian coast after it departed from Libya. Most are feared drowned. 12 bodies were recovered by Tunisia’s Coast Guard on 6 July. Tunisian fishermen rescued four people, one of whom died later in the hospital. ?

Information Gaps and Needs

  • Information about migrants is scarce and often inadequate. Numbers of people leaving Algeria, Libya or Tunisia to reach Italy, or other destinations in Europe,  are estimations. 
  • The needs of migrants and refugees remain largely unknown. 
  • The total number of refugees and asylum seekers in Italy is unknown.