‘2017 migrant arrivals in Europe half from year ago’

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Geneva, July 22 (IANS) The UN migration agency said that 111,514 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 by July 19, more than half the number for a similar period last year.

“Almost 85 per cent arrived in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain,” said International Organization for Migration senior press officer Joel Millman at a media briefing on Friday.

This compares with 244,722 arrivals across the region up to July 16, 2016, Xinhua news agency reported.

From Spain IOM had reported on July 20 that there have been 7,514 arrivals this year by sea, a number slightly lower than the 10,751 Spanish authorities released on Wednesday.

The statistic includes migrants and refugees arriving by land at Spain’s twin enclaves on the African continent, Melilla and Ceuta.

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The IOM in Libya had reported Thursday that the remains of one man were discovered close to Subratah, raising the total number of bodies retrieved this year to 349.

At the same time, the number of rescued in Libyan waters so far this year reached 11,122. Last year at this time the figure was slightly higher at 11,233.

The latest fatalities bring the Mediterranean total to 2,360 this year.

Although this figure is less than the number of deaths (2,996) recorded this time last year, it nonetheless marks the fourth consecutive year migrant deaths on the Mediterranean Sea have exceeded 2,350.

Worldwide, the IOM said its Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reports that there have been 3,269 fatalities in 2017 up to July 19 with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths — almost three quarters of the global total.

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