The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported Tuesday that 19,653 migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe so far this year, down from over 152,700 over the same period last year.
While the number of entries by sea has registered a sharp year-on-year drop, 2017 has been a particularly deadly year for those seeking to reach European shores by sea.
IOM reported that 525 men, women and children have lost their lives since the start of the year, 43 more than over the same period in 2016.
Most fatalities this year have been documented on the central Mediterranean route linking North Africa with Italy, where 481 migrants and refugees have reportedly drowned.
A further 44 individuals have lost their lives on eastern and western Mediterranean Sea passages.
A record 5,079 migrants and refugees died last year while crossing the Mediterranean Sea, up from 3,771 fatalities in 2015. (PNA/Xinhua)