Two of the lucky ones. Two rescued men look out at the port of Messina, Italy, from an Italian naval vessel on September 24. (Gabriele Maricchiolo/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

UNHCR: 6th Year in Row More than 1,000 Migrants Die Crossing Mediterranean

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says that more than 1,000 people have died already this year attempting to make the sea crossing from North Africa to Europe. The latest deaths came after a boat capsized on Saturday off the coast of Morocco, killing at least 12 people. “The tragedy of the Mediterranean cannot be allowed to continue,” said UNHCR spokesman Charlie Yaxley in a statement on Tuesday, urging European Union members to step up search and rescue missions, most of which are currently being carried out by non-governmental organizations. Spokeswoman Liz Throssel pointed out that with European countries closing their doors, fewer people are attempting to make the crossing, down from a high of one million in 2015 to 78,000 so far in 2019. This “points to the fact that the journeys themselves are much more dangerous,” she told the Reuters news agency. The UNHCR estimates that some 18,000 people have died trying to cross to Europe since 2014.

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