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    Migrants and refugees are assisted by members of the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, as they crowd aboard a boat sailing out of control in the Mediterranean Sea about 21 miles north of Sabratha, Libya, on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. European Union leaders are poised to take a big step on Friday in closing off the illegal migration routes from Libya across the central Mediterranean, where thousands have died trying to reach the EU, the EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said.

    Number of Migrant Sea Arrivals in EU Nearly Doubles Year-on-Year in 2019 - UN

    © AP Photo / Emilio Morenatti
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - A total of 4,216 migrants have crossed into Europe by sea this year, which is almost twice as high as in the same period in 2018, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Friday.

    "The UN Migration Agency, reports that 4,216 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first 16 days of 2019, an increase that nearly doubles the total (2,365) arriving during the same period last year," the IOM said in a statement.

    READ MORE: 'Europe is Flooded With Migrants' Due to Politics of the West — Czech Politician

    Meanwhile, undocumented migrant arrivals by sea to Spain make up almost 80 percent of all Mediterranean arrivals of such type through mid-January, while the total number of them is now nearly as high as the number recorded in this European country in the first three months of 2018, the IOM added.

    As of January 16, the number of deaths registered on Mediterranean Sea routes totalled 83, compared with 199 recorded over the same period in the previous year.

    Europe has been facing a large influx of migrants since 2015, and although the number of new arrivals has gone down since that, the issue of accommodating migrants and refugees remains acute, especially for Spain, Italy, and Greece, which often serve as points of first entry into the European Union.


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    illegal migrants, Migrant Crisis, UN Migration Agency (IOM), EU, Spain
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