GENEVA, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Migrants and refugees entering Europe by sea in 2018 has reached 45,808 people, while 1,405 people have lost their lives in the Mediterranean alone, according to the latest statistics from the UN agency on Tuesday.
Of the over 45,000 migrants and refugees, around 36 percent have arrived in Italy, and the remainder were divided between Greece, some 29 percent, and Spain, about 34 percent, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said, adding that a small number have landed in Cyprus and Malta.
In comparison, the latest total of migrants for all routes was 100,923 arrivals across the region through the same period last year, and 230,230 in 2016.
Unfortunately, the IOM has recorded that in the Mediterranean alone, 1,405 people have lost their lives at sea since the beginning of the year. Most recently, 218 people drowned in the Central Mediterranean off the coast of Libya.
Earlier on Friday, a boat capsized north of Tripoli, Libya, where 16 survivors were rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard, while an estimated 104 people lost their lives. Survivors said an estimated 101 people remain missing. On Sunday, another boat capsized off the coast of Al Khums, Libya. According to survivors, at least 114 people tragically died during the shipwreck.
The IOM said that for the month of June, nearly twice as many migrants have arrived by sea to Spain than to Italy, and nearly three times as many as have arrived in Greece. In the first six months of 2018, 1,068 people have drowned in the Central Mediterranean.
"There is an alarming increase in deaths at sea off Libya Coast," said IOM Libya Chief of Mission Othman Belbeisi, adding that smugglers are exploiting the desperation of migrants to leave before there are further crackdowns on Mediterranean crossings by Europe.
IOM Director General William Lacy Swing said that he will travel to the Libyan capital of Tripoli this week so as to see firsthand the conditions of migrants who have been rescued as well as those returned to shore by the Libya Coast Guard.
"IOM is determined to ensure that the human rights of all migrants are respected as together we all make efforts to stop the people smuggling trade, which is so exploitative of migrants," said Swing.