So far in 2016, the UN said at least 2,500 people or more have lost their lives while risking a very dangerous journey across the Mediterranean sea in order to make a visaless trip to Europe.
On the other hand, about 204,000 migrants and refugees have successfully crossed the Mediterranean sea to Europe since January, a figure that has remarkably increased.
About a week ago, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) cited information from survivors who made it to Italy saying that at least 880 people have perished in a series of shipwrecks.
“I emphasize that that figure is a conservative estimate,” UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said.
As thousands including little children reportedly drown in the series of boat accidents over the past week, thousands more continue to attempt to cross the sea from the Middle East and Africa to Europe using rickety vessels.
A weekend incident involving a raft carrying 125 people from Libya which deflated had 47 people still missing.
Spindler warned that “2016 is proving to be particularly deadly,” as the figures associated with the disasters at the sea are on the increase. He added that during the first five months of 2015, the death toll stood at 1,855, while the number during the same period in 2014 was 57.
At the same time the number of arrivals is more than double the nearly 92,000 who landed on the shores of Europe during the first five months of 2015.
46,714 people have arrived in Italy since the beginning of the year, around the same number as during the first five months of 2015, UNHCR said.
However Greece cut down on the number of arrivals since the EU entered a controversial deal on March 20 with key transit country Turkey to control the flow of migrants.
Most of the people who are willing to dare the Mediterranean sea are from sub-Saharan Africa, especially Nigeria, Gambia, Somalia and Eritrea.
Sadly, Spindler said the odds of dying while trying to cross the big sea to Europe was now very high as the route between Libya and Italy, which extends longer than the one between Turkey and Greece, has proven to be particularly deadly, with 2,119 of all deaths registered this year taking place along that route.
Apparently, the boats taking this route tend to be far more crowded, often carrying 600 or more passengers and sometimes being towed by larger fishing boats, which Spindler described as “very dangerous.”
Earlier this week, Italian prosecutors announced the arrest of 16 alleged traffickers who allegedly helped nearly 900 migrants make the journey from Libya to Italy.