409 migrants die in Mediterranean in 2016: IOM

AP , Tuesday 9 Feb 2016

Ambulance personnel ferrying migrants rescued at sea by a helicopter, to a waiting ambulance, in the Altinoluk district in Balikesir February 8, 2016 (Photo: AFP)

The International Organization for Migration says 409 people have died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea, and migrant crossings in the first six weeks of 2016 are running at nearly ten times the rate of the same period last year.

IOM says 76,000 people have reached Europe by sea, nearly 2,000 per day, since Jan. 1.

More than three-fourths of the deaths have been on the short eastern Mediterranean route between Turkey and Greece — which traditionally has seen far fewer deaths than the much longer central Mediterranean route between Libya and Italy.

The IOM statement Tuesday comes a day after Turkey's coast guard said 27 migrants had died after their boat capsized in the Bay of Edremit while trying to reach the Greek island of Lesbos.

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