Despite a decline in the number of people crossing to Europe, the share of those perishing along the way more than doubled, says a report by the United Nations refugee agency.
Between January and March 2018, one person died for every 14 persons successfully crossing the sea, compared to one death for every 29 arrivals in the first three months of 2017, according to Desperate Journeys, a report by UNHCR.
The number of refugee arrivals has decreased by 74 percent in the first three months of 2018 compared to the same period last year.
“Journeys to and through Europe for refugees and migrants remain fraught with danger,” said Pascale Moreau, director of the refugee agency’s Europe Bureau.
Many of the migrants and refugees crossing to the continent are those who flee violence and deepening economic insecurity in their home countries, in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Those who managed to reach Europe are arriving at poor health and a significant share of them experienced trafficking, torture, sexual violence and other abuses prior to boarding boats in Libya, the agency said in the report.
Several of the deaths happen as their crammed boats capsize during the voyages.
“Managing borders and offering protection to refugees in line with States’ international obligations are not mutually exclusive nor incompatible,” Moreau said.