IOM: More than 60,000 migrants reach Europe by sea in 2017

Migrants on a boat are given life vests before being rescued at sea, Wednesday, May 24, 2017. At least 34 bodies of migrants, many of them young children, were recovered from the sea off Libya after some 200 migrants tumbled into rough waters when their overcrowded smugglers’ boat capsized Wednesday, the Italian coast guard said. (MOAS via AP)
Migrants wearing life vests are seen floating in the water before being rescued at sea, Wednesday, May 24, 2017. At least 34 bodies of migrants, many of them young children, were recovered from the sea off Libya after some 200 migrants tumbled into rough waters when their overcrowded smugglers’ boat capsized Wednesday, the Italian coast guard said. (MOAS via AP)

BASEL, Switzerland — The International Organization for Migration says more than 60,000 migrants have reached the shores of Europe so far in 2017, a sizeable decrease compared to the same period last year.

The Geneva- based U.N. agency said Friday that 60,521 migrants and refugees had entered Europe by sea with over 80 precent of them landing in Italy. The remainder arrived in Greece, Cyprus or Spain.

That figure excludes an estimated 6,000 men, women and children who have been rescued since Tuesday.

The organization has also recorded at least 1,530 deaths on the Mediterranean in 2017, the vast majority in the waters between Libya and Sicily. That figure is higher than the same period last year.

Between January-May 2016, the agency documented 193,333 migrants and refugees arriving at sea and 1,398 fatalities.

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