GENEVA, March 21 — The UN migration agency IOM reported Tuesday that a total of 12,983 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first 11 weeks of 2018, obviously less than those arriving during the same period last year, which stood at 21,058.
IOM said that among this figure, about 47 percent arrived in Italy and the remainder divided among Greece (30 percent), Spain (22 percent) and Cyprus (less than 1 percent).
According to the latest figure from IOM, deaths on the three Mediterranean routes so far was 495 as of March 18, down about 9 percent below their total at this same time in 2017, when 544 migrants had been counted as drowned or missing.
Joel Millman, a spokesperson for IOM, told a press briefing here on Tuesday that on March 17, a boat had capsized in the Aegean in what had been the first fatal shipwreck in the Eastern Mediterranean in 2018 involving irregular migrants.
Of the 16 bodies that had been retrieved, 8 were from Afghanistan and 6 from Iraq. Nine of the dead were children, he said, adding that three people had been rescued by the Hellenic Coastguard and three others were still missing.
According to him, the Western Mediterranean was seeing an alarming trend, with 188 confirmed deaths by drowning in the first 77 days of 2018, an average rate of 10 per week compared with 4 per week during 2017. – XINHUA