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IOM: More than 3,000 Migrants Lost in Med in 7 Months | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Migrants stand on board of Italian Navy ship Chimera before to be disembarked in the southern harbor of Salerno April 22, 2015. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

Geneva-The International Organization for Migration has said that more than 3,000 migrants died in the Mediterranean this year while an estimated 249,854 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 through July 24, arriving mostly in Italy and Greece.

According to IOM estimates, the latest discovery of 39 bodies washed up on Libyan shores this week brings the number of casualties to over 3,034 among the migrants and refugees who attempted to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe in 2016. This year’s total so far, is significantly higher compared to last year as of end of July 2015, when 1,917 had lost their lives at sea.

One of the reasons behind the increase in migrant deaths is linked to the exceptional flow of arrivals and the high number of migrants – about 1,000 victims over a tragic few days – lost at sea in the last week of May 2016.

The crossing to Italy is by far the most perilous with 2,606 deaths for any 88,350 arrivals from the beginning of the year, according to the IOM. Over the same period, almost 160,000 migrants arrived in Greece and 383 have died. 45 have also died off Spain.

The flood of hundreds of migrants fleeing conflicts in Syria and the Middle East and seeking to reach Europe through the Balkans was interrupted in March. The decision of many countries to close their borders and the signing of the European Union agreement with Turkey have significantly slowed the migration flow.