Nearly 4,000 have drowned in the Mediterranean this year

Greek Coast GuardGreek Coast Guard officers move a girl from a dinghy carrying refugees and migrants aboard the Ayios Efstratios Coast Guard vessel, during a rescue operation at open sea between the Turkish coast and the Greek island of Lesbos.Photo:REUTERS/Giorgos Moutafis

Close to 4,000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea since the beginning of the year, as they tried to get to Europe, says the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

As October drew to a close there were  3.940 registered deaths related to refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean.

Last week, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees advised that 2016 has been the worst year ever in terms of number of drowned refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean.

Last year  3,771 people perished after setting out in boats from Turkey and other countries in North Africa. The death toll has risen despite the fact that there came fewer potential asylum seekers to Europe this year compared with last year.

In the first ten months of last year around 730,000 people came to Europe via the Mediterranean. In the same period this year the number has fallen to 334,000.

The reason for the journey across the Mediterranean having  become more dangerous, is that most of the traffic now goes from Libya, not Turkey, where smugglers pack people together in rubber dingheys and other boats that are almost doomed to capsize before they reach Italy.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today