More than 2,2 thousand refugees and migrants died or went missing on their way to Europe via the Mediterranean sea, or land routes from the beginning of the year. This is stated in the message of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which presented in Geneva their report "Desperate Journey".
According to the office, the flow of illegal immigrants across the Mediterranean Sea has declined. About 107 thousand people arrived to Europe in the first half of the year. However, only on the route from Turkey to Greece there is a drop of 94%: from January 9 thousand migrants and refugees have moored to the Greek coast (against more than 150 thousand in the first six months of 2016). At the same time, the number of migrants and refugees from North Africa, reaching the shores of Italy, remained about the same level as last year. As of the end of June, this route was used by almost 84 thousand people.
"Despite the reduction in the number of arrivals [to Europe], the probability of dying among people seeking to enter Europe remains at an alarmingly high level," UNHCR noted. According to its estimates, over the past six months, "2253 people were killed or missing in the sea and at least 40 died on land near European borders." "Since many people travel secretly, this information is difficult to verify and these estimates are considered modest," the UN refugee agency said.