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    A Belgian nav.y sailor passes life vests to migrants sitting in a rubber boat as they approach the Belgian Navy Vessel Godetia during a search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean Eea off the Libyan coasts, Tuesday, June 23, 2015

    Over 1,000 Migrants Cross Mediterranean Into Europe in January

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    IOM reports that 1,159 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017, through 12 January, arriving mostly in Greece and Italy, compared with 22,590 through the first 12 days of January, 2016, according to official statement.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Since the beginning of January, over 1,000 migrants and refugees have entered Europe via the Mediterranean Sea, of which 27 died, the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Friday.

    "IOM reports that 1,159 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017, through 12 January, arriving mostly in Greece and Italy, compared with 22,590 through the first 12 days of January, 2016," the organization said.

    The migration agency also found that 22 of the victims died while traveling along the central Mediterranean route, while five other migrants died on the western Mediterranean route.

    The European Union has been struggling to manage a massive refugee crisis which escalated in 2015 with hundreds of thousands of people form the Middle East and North Africa seeking asylum in the EU member states.

    Frontex detected over 1.83 million illegal border crossings in 2015, in contrast to some 283,000 in 2014. Preliminary Frontex data for 2016 suggests that 182,500 people crossed the EU border, with the major drop attributed to the EU-Turkey deal on migrants. The figure contrasts sharply with the spike in migrant deaths.

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    migrants, International Organization of Migration (IOM), Mediterranean Sea
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