By Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak
ANKARA (AA) - A total of 72,263 irregular migrants and refugees reached Europe by sea in the first nine months of 2019, the UN migration agency said on Friday.
According to a report issued by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 1,041 of them died at sea.
During the same period last year, nearly 84,345 refugees and migrants were able to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea, while 1,890 of them drowned at the sea.
This year, 39,155 irregular migrants and refugees arrived in Greece -- more than half of total arrivals.
“Those arrivals, through nine months of 2019, are more than two of the last six years,” said the report.
On the Eastern Mediterranean route, the number of deaths reportedly reached 66 in 2019.
On the western route, Spain received 17,405 irregular migrants and refugees.
The number of deaths reported on the Western Mediterranean route was at 315, compared to 511 in 2018.
According to the IOM report, some 8,000 migrants entered Italy so far this year. Some 21,100 migrants entered the country during the same period in 2018.
Malta received over 2,800 refugees and migrants this year, spiking from the same period last year which saw 714 arrivals.
Deaths in the Central Mediterranean route decreased to 660 in 2019, compared to 1,261 in the same period last year.
The IOM stated that at least 18,960 victims have lost their lives in Mediterranean crossings since 2014.