Geneva: Nearly 4,700 migrants and refugees have drowned crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe in 2016, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said.
“This death toll is significantly higher than the number of fatalities documented over the same period last year, when 3,565 men, women and children were reported dead through November 30,” the IOM said on Tuesday.
It also means that 2016 has been a particularly deadly year for migrants seeking to reach European shores. While deaths this year are considerably higher, the number of arrivals is much lower, Xinhua news agency reported.
According to latest IOM figures, 348,664 migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe by sea this year compared to 883,393 arrivals recorded at this point in 2015.
By far the most dangerous sea route for migrants, the central Mediterranean passage linking North Africa with Italy has claimed the lives of 4,199 people since the beginning of the year.
A further 429 individuals have perished on the eastern Mediterranean route separating Turkey and Greece, while 62 have died on western Mediterranean passages.