Migrant deaths crossing Mediterranean top 3,000 in 2014

The transfer of immigrants from the tanker "Torm Lotte" to tug boat "Grifone" in the middle of Messina's marine channel following a rescue operation on 20 July 2014. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Europe is considered the most dangerous destination for migrants, according to the International Organization for Migration

More than 3,000 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

In a report published on Monday, the IOM said the 3,072 deaths made Europe the most dangerous destination for "irregular" migrants.

The organisation said that some experts placed the toll three times as high.

This year's total is more than double the previous peak in 2011, and exceeds last year's estimate over four times.

Since January, 4,077 migrant deaths have occurred worldwide with 75% of fatalities happening in Europe.

The IOM's 216-page report suggests that the high toll "likely reflects a dramatic increase in the number of migrants trying to reach Europe".

Its findings come just weeks after one of the worst recorded wrecks, when a migrant boat carrying 500 passengers sank near Malta.

Identifying those who die in such disasters is difficult. The IOM says few countries keep information on missing migrants or their deaths.

William Lacy Swing, the IOM's chief said it was "time to engage the world to stop this violence against desperate migrants".

It is believed that more than 40,000 migrants have died since 2000. Of the toll, 22,000 were trying to reach Europe.

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