The number of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean this year has reached the 2,000 mark, said the International Organisation on Migration (IOM) in Geneva on Tuesday. “A sad record was set this weekend; more than 2,000 migrants and refugees have died” so far in 2015 while attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, said Itayi Virri, IOM spokesman.
IOM also pointed out that some 188,000 migrants have got to Europe since January, mainly arriving in Greece and Italy via the Mediterranean and IOM expects the symbolic figure of 200,000 people to be “reached very soon.”
Approximately 97,000 migrants and refugees arrived in Greece and 90,500 in Italy, the deaths mainly occurring on the North Africa-Italy crossing. On this route, there were 1,930 deaths compared to 60 on the route to Greece, generally from Turkey.
19 migrants also died in the Strait of Sicily this weekend, says IOM. One of those cases involved 14 bodies brought to the Sicilian port of Messina; according to statements given to IOM the migrants died of exhaustion and thirst after their drinking water was used to cool the engine of the boat they were travelling on.