UN says 1,900 Mediterranean migrants die in 2015

International Organization for Migration reports more than twice number of deaths on last year

Baku. 10 July. REPORT.AZ/ More than 1,900 migrants have died in the Mediterranean Sea so far this year, more than double the number for the same period last year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Friday.

Some 150,000 have reached Europe by sea.

The vast majority of deaths - 1,841 - occurred in the central Mediterranean as they crossed from Libya to Italy or Malta.

IOM spokesman Joel Millman told a press conference in Geneva that at least 12 migrants died off the Libyan coast on Thursday evening in the latest fatal incident.

In another case, he noted that Greek and Turkish rescuers saved 19 of up to 40 migrants believed to be on board a boat that sank between Turkey and the Greek islands early on Thursday.

"Greece is now the largest arrival point, putting a huge strain on the country as it wrestles with one of its worst economic crises in decades," Millman said.

According to the IOM, almost all this year’s arrivals by sea were initially registered in Italy or Greece, with the numbers roughly equal.

"The arrival in Europe of 150,000 migrants is a substantial number but cannot be described as an invasion considering that Europe is home to over 500 million people and Lebanon, a country of 4 million people, is hosting 1.5 million Syrian refugees and Turkey is hosting about 2 million," Federico Soda, director of the IOM’s Mediterranean office, said in a statement.

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