Mediterranean death toll is record 5,000 migrants this year: agencies
(Reuters) — A record 5,000 migrants are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea this year, following two shipwrecks on Thursday in which some 100 people, mainly West Africans, were feared dead, aid agencies said on Friday.
overcrowded inflatable dinghies Twocapsized in the Strait of Sicily after leaving Libya for Italy, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said.
“Those two incidents together appear to be the numbers that would bring this year’s total up to over to 5,000 (deaths), which is a new high that we have reported during this crisis,” IOM spokesman Joel Millman told a Geneva briefing.
The Italian coast guard rescued survivors and had recovered eight bodies so far, he said. IOM staff were interviewing survivors brought to Trapani, Italy, he added.