More Mediterranean maritime migrants reaching Italy this year: IOM

2017-02-17 15:59:39 GMT2017-02-17 23:59:39(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

GENEVA, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- A total of 9,448 migrants and refugees have reached Italy by sea so far this year, up from 6,123 over the same period last year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported Friday.

The maritime traffic to Greece has practically dried up however, with 1,933 entries documented by authorities since the start of the year, down from 78,522 in the first six weeks of 2016.

According to the latest IOM statistics, 12,381 sea arrivals have been observed in Europe since Jan. 1, a significant drop from the 84,645 maritime entries recorded over the same period last year.

A total of 272 people have lost their lives attempting to reach European shores in 2017. Most fatalities (232) have been reported on the central Mediterranean route linking North Africa with Italy.

A further 40 deaths have been documented on eastern and western Mediterranean passages, IOM noted.

According to the Geneva-based organization, 5,083 Mediterranean migrant deaths were documented last year.