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    Over 63,000 Migrants Reach Europe Via Mediterranean So Far in 2019 - IOM

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Over 63,000 migrants and refugees reached Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea through 18 September this year, some 20 percent less than during the same period in 2018, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported on Friday.

    "IOM reports that 63,417 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 18 September, roughly a 20 per cent decrease from the 78,372 arriving during a similar period last year", the statement says.

    The migrant flow intensified in recent weeks, with almost 20,000 arrivals registered just over the past month, it says.

    The number of migrants and refugees who died or disappeared in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe has reached 950 people so far in 2019, almost by half less than in the same period last year.

    "Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through almost nine months of 2019 are at 953 individuals – or about 52 per cent of the 1,839 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018," the IOM said.

    Since 2015, Europe has been experiencing its worst migration crisis in recent history, struggling to accommodate hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants fleeing hostilities in Middle Eastern and North African countries. However, over recent years the flow of migrants has been steadily going down due to various factors, including the winding down of the war in Syria and a number of European countries embracing a stricter border security and immigration policies.

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