For the fifth year in a row, at least 1,500 people have died crossing the Mediterranean Sea in 2018 seeking refuge in Europe, the International Organization for Migration said Friday.
The U.N. agency said through Wednesday, 55,001 people have made the journey this year and 1,504 have died. That’s about half and two-thirds of last year’s totals during the same time period — 111,753 arrivals and 2,401 deaths. There were more than 250,000 arrivals in 2016.
More than half of this year’s deaths have happened since June.
The majority of this year’s arrivals were in Spain (20,992) and Italy (18,130). The number of migrants Italy accepted from 2017 to 2018 dropped by more than 80 percent. Last year, the country received 94,448 people.
Meanwhile, Greece and Spain both saw increases in arrivals compared to last year. Greece’s increased by 5,000 and Spain’s by nearly 15,000.