UNHCR: 3,419 migrants died in Mediterranean this year

UNHCR: 3,419 migrants died in Mediterranean this year

UNHCR: 3,419 migrants died in Mediterranean this year

At least 3,419 migrants have been killed trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea since January, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC).

The agency also revealed that people worldwide risked their lives through sea travel in record numbers this year, with at least 348,000 taking to waters, often in rickety boats, to seek asylum. Of that number, at least 4,272 died.

The Mediterranean was listed as the world’s deadliest crossing, with just under 3,500 people losing their lives in the sea. However, the agency pointed out that the illegal nature of the journeys meant it was often difficult to compare figures with previous years.

But data shows that 2014 saw a record number of people trying to make the treacherous trip, while the number of asylum seekers also shot up this year. Since the start of the year, more than 207,000 migrants tried to cross the sea, according to the UNHRC, three times the 70,000 migrants who attempted the journey in 2011 after that start of the Arab Spring.

With the Syria-Iraq, and Libya conflicts still in full flow, Europe is the primary destination of migrants travelling by boat. Around 80 per cent of journeys across the Mediterranean depart from the coast of Libya and head in the direction of Italy and Malta.

The UNHRC also reported that other popular routes taken by people escaping war and persecution were from the Horn of Africa across the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (82,680 migrants); from Burma or Bangladesh to Thailand and Malaysia (54,000); and from the Caribbean, where 4,775 migrants fled to nearby countries.

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