IOM: Almost 3,000 refugees have perished in Mediterranean

International Organization for Migration (IOM) spokesman Joel Millman said only in 2015 nearly 3,000 refugees have died crossing Mediterranean Sea

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A Syrian refugee shouts for help as she arrives on an overcrowded dinghy

New figures released Tuesday show almost 3,000 refugees have died crossing the Mediterranean Sea so far this year, including 246 in the waters between Greece and Turkey.

International Organization for Migration (IOM) spokesperson Joel Millman said that the past few weeks had seen an increasing number of incidents taking place in the Aegean Sea.

Speaking in Geneva, he said: "The last incident happened on Sunday, when 17 Syrian refugees, including five children, drowned when their boat sank in Turkish waters."

Refugee fatalities in the Mediterranean

IOM statistics show that the vast majority of 2,892 recorded fatalities – 2,621 – died crossing from North Africa to southern Europe, primarily Italy.

Some 522,134 people – more than double last year's figure – reached Europe via the Mediterranean, including 388,324 people landing in Greece and 130,891 in Italy, the IOM said.

The largest national group was from Syria, where refugees have fled the four-year civil war; about 200,000 Syrian people have reached Greece so far.