The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said that over 71,000 migrants arrived in Europe via sea this year as of September 5. The UN agency added that at least 1,565 people died trying to reach Europe via the Mediterranean in the same period.
The UN agency for migration IOM said Monday that 71,779 migrants and refugees had entered Europe via sea in 2018 as of September 5. That includes 31,040 migrants who arrived in Spain, the main destination this year.
The figure is much lower than the 125,613 seen in the same period the previous year and the 289,681 in 2016. The UN agency added that at least 1,565 people had died in the Mediterranean this year trying to reach Europe.
Sixteen lost their lives in three recent shipwrecks in the Western Mediterranean.
43 percent of arrivals in Spain
IOM said in a statement on its website that ''Spain, with over 43 percent of all irregular arrivals on the Mediterranean through this year, has outpaced Greece and Italy throughout the summer.
Italy's arrivals to date - 20,250 - are the lowest recorded by IOM since 2014, lower in fact, than arrivals recorded by Italian authorities during many individual months over the past five years.
The same can be said for Greece, whose totals for irregular migrant arrivals through the first week of September this year (19,564) are nearly identical to those of Italy.''
Ana Dodevska of IOM Spain reported Thursday that 31,040 irregular migrants have arrived by sea this year via the Western Mediterranean, of those 8,109 arriving in the 36 days since the start of August, a rate of 225 per day.
Additionally, at least 4,575 migrants have arrived irregularly in the region by land.
''Since the beginning of the year, 329 people have lost their lives in the Western Mediterranean. That compares with 224 fatalities recorded in the Western Mediterranean through all of 2017,'' the statement added.
Arrivals in Greece
The statement went on to say that ''on Thursday, IOM Athens' Christine Nikolaidou reported that over seven days (August 29 - September 4) since last week Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) units managed at least three incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Samos and Kos. The HCG rescued a total 131 migrants and transferred them to those respective islands.''
''Additional arrivals of 665 migrants during those days to Samos and Kos - as well as to Lesvos, Chios, Rhodes and Megisti - bring to 19,564 the total number of irregular arrivals to Greece by sea in 2018. In addition, some 11,050 land arrivals have been recorded on the Eastern Mediterranean through the end of July,'' it concluded.