ROME – The number of undocumented migrants who drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe has reached 5,000 in 2016.

According to a UN spokesman, the record number of deaths means an average of fourteen people are drowning in the Mediterranean every day.

The UN spokesman said Europe should organise legal ways for refugees to find safety.

An exhausted Afghan migrant frantically looks for her children as she arrives on the Greek island of Lesbos in an overcrowded dinghy after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea from the Turkish coast September 22, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
The latest figures, released by the UN’s refugee agency, include 100 deaths reported on Thursday after two rubber dinghies sank off Italy.

The increase was attributed to bad weather, ever riskier boats and tactics to avoid detection, a spokesman said.


Spokesman William Spindler said the increase in deaths was “alarming” and the smugglers’ practice of sending thousands of migrants off at the same time made it difficult for rescuers of saving them all.

Almost 360,000 migrants entered Europe by sea this year, mostly arriving in Italy and Greece, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.