Migrants lost at sea

20 April 2018

Europe Migration By Sea 2006 to 2014 by Views of the World blog

Over the past few years, hundreds of people have drowned in the Mediterranean attempting to reach Europe. Fleeing conflict, oppression or poverty in the Middle East or Africa, these desperate people are prepared to pay over the odds to people-smugglers and risk everything in their search for a better life.

We’ve brought together a selection of links below, which give background information, facts, figures and real-life stories, and may be suitable for use in class to get students talking about these issues. However we suggest that you check first that these resources would work with your students.

Migrants at Sea: This detailed blog follows migration by sea from Africa or towards the Middle East with up to date statistics and links

Open Migration: Clear infographics showing the statistics surrounding the issue of migrants at sea

Al Jazeera: Thousands of people are being swallowed by the Mediterranean – map shows the main routes and frequency of incidents.

BBC: Can Europe stop migrants dying in the Mediterranean? – Four ‘expert witnesses’ give their perspective.

Guardian: Death at sea YouTube clip (9 minutes) – a group of five friends from Syria film their perilous and tragic voyage to Europe.

The Day: Horror in Med highlights global migrant woe – news website for schools, includes discussion ideas.

The Economist: Everything you want to know about migration across the Mediterranean – useful overview.

New York Times Learning Network: Tragedy in the Mediterranean: Learning About Europe’s Immigration Crisis – includes teaching ideas.

Views of the World: Migrants at sea – background information and map showing the EU countries resized according to the total arrivals by sea 20016-2014.

Save the Children is focussing on the children lost in these disasters, and is campaigning for the EU to ‘Restart the Rescue’ – ie: bring back search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, which were stopped last November.

Amnesty International supporters got themselves zipped into 200 body bags on Brighton beach to highlight the issue.

You could use our Ten critical questions approach to explore this issue, or read our feature article on migration and trafficking for further information.

Perhaps your students could discuss this tweet by Gapminder founder Hans Rosling:

Or this short poem by Nayyirah Waheed:

Immigrant - Nayyirah Waheed

Or this cartoon:


See also ‘African Migrant’s Compass’ by Brandan Reynolds on the Cartoon Movement website.

In this ‘Factpod’, Hans Rosling gives his explanation ‘why boat refugees don’t fly’:

Refugees stranded in the Andaman Sea, South East Asia

BBC News: Rohingya migrant crisis explained in 90 seconds 20 May 2015

BBC News: Why are so many Rohingya migrants stranded at sea? 18 May 2015

Guardian: We helped out of solidarity: Indonesian fishermen come to aid of boat migrants 18 May 2015

Guardian: Indonesia and Malaysia agree to offer 7,000 migrants temporary shelter 20 May 2015

Al Jazeera: Philippines may open doors to Rohingya migrants 19 May 2015

If you have further suggestions for exploring these issues in class, please login to post them in the comments below.


  1. Moira Jenkins

    Thanks Isobel – I saw that on Facebook, so it’s helpful to have the YouTube clip too, will add it to this page shortly.

  2. Isobel Mitchell

    BTW. The infographic at the top is not clear – can you make it bigger?

  3. Moira Jenkins

    Hi Isobel – I’ve added that link and included a clickable image to access a bigger version of the map.


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