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SOS Mediterranee rescued 39 vulnerable people - one newborn, medical cases, pregnant women, children & their parents - from an overcrowded rubber boat intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard on 31 March 2018 / Photo: SOS Mediterranee

628 migrants died at sea so far in 2018, says UN

According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), there has been a significant drop in the number of migrants and refugees who have travelled to Europe by sea compared to the same period last year.

The UN migration agency has just released its numbers on how many migrants and refugees have travelled to Europe so far this year. According to IOM records, a total of 25,338 migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe by sea since the start of the year and a further 628 are known to have died or gone missing during the journey.

Overall, this is lower than last year, when there were 53,979 arrivals and 1,338 recorded deaths or disappearances in the same period (until 9 May).

Over one third of sea arrivals registered in Italy

So far, roughly 39 percent of the sea arrivals have been registered in Italy (9,789 compared to over 45,000 in 2017). The same percentage arrived in Greece which, contrary to Italy, is seeing an increase with respect to last year (9,447 arrivals in 2018 against 5,555 in 2017). As well, Spain registered 5,219 sea arrivals since 1 January 2018, compared to 3,326 in the same period last year.

© ANSA

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