GENEVA - More than 10,000 migrants and refugees have died trying to reach Europe in the Mediterranean since the start of 2014, a spokesman for the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in Geneva Tuesday. "The 10,000 mark was passed in the last few days and is extremely worrying," the spokesman said.
Crossings from North Africa to Italy have increased recently after the closure of the Balkan Route through Greece.
About 1,000 more people have died in the Mediterranean this year than last, with three weeks in June still to run, the UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) also said Tuesday.
"From the start of the year more than 2,800 people have died against the 3,771 deaths all last year and the 1,838 recorded in the first half of 2015", said UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards.
The IOM, for its part, said the number of deaths this year were 2,809 against 1,838 from January to June last year.