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The number of migrants who died or went missing attempting to cross the Mediterranean fell by more than a quarter in 2018 compared to 2,262 in the previous year, the UN refugee agency said on Thursday (3 January).
According to the UNHCR’s full-year figures, the number of migrants who arrived in Europe after surviving the sea crossing also dropped by roughly the same proportion last year to 113,482 after 172,301 in 2017.
A total of 3,139 were reported dead or missing in 2017.
“The Mediterranean has been for years the most deadly sea crossing in the world for refugees and migrants,” UNHCR spokeswoman Celine Schmitt told AFP in Paris.
The data also confirmed that Spain had become the main gateway into Europe for migrants and refugees who travel from north Africa, with 55,756 people registered as arriving there by sea in 2018.
Italy, under its hardline anti-immigration government, cut the number of arrivals dramatically last year to 23,371 around a fifth of the number who arrived in 2017 when 119,369 crossed from Libya.
Source: National News Agency