13:48 GMT +322 October 2019
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    At least 200 migrants are missing after their boats sank in the Mediterranean Sea on Wednesday, BBC reported citing UN refugee agency

    2016 Shows Record Number of Refugee Deaths in Mediterranean

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    According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the 2016 refugee death toll in the Mediterranean Sea has hit a record high of at least 3,800 people.

    "We can confirm that at least 3,800 people have been reported dead or missing in the Mediterranean Sea so far this year, making the death toll in 2016 the highest ever recorded," the UN refugee agency spokesman, William Spindler, said at a news briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva Wednesday.

    In March, the EU signed a deal with Turkey aimed at stemming the tide of refugees into Europe. Since that time, deported refugees have been forced to return to Turkey or their country of origin. Although less people are migrating now, primarily due to new policies enacted by some European countries, more refugees are dying. An estimated 327,800 asylum-seekers have crossed the sea so far this year, compared with at least 1,015,078 people last year.

    The higher death rate might be a result, Spindler said, of the dangerous route from North Africa to Italy. Combined with bad weather, unseaworthy vessels, and cramming too many people into a boat, tragedy is inevitable.

    The extremely hazardous route between Libya and Italy has become the main path for refugees fleeing their war-torn country, Spindler said, calling on European countries to consider "enhanced resettlement and humanitarian admissions, family reunification, private sponsorship, and humanitarian, student and work visas for refugees."

    On Tuesday, 25 migrants were found dead among survivors in an overloaded rubber dinghy on the Mediterranean Sea, Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) reported.

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    Tags:
    border crossing, refugee deaths, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, William Spindler, Middle East, Mediterranean Sea, Africa, Europe
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