U.N. Officials Estimate That 1,600 People Have Died or Gone Missing in the Mediterranean Sea Already This Year

The Mediterranean Sea is the main gateway to Europe for migrants trying to enter the continent with the help of human smugglers. The sinking of a boat with more than 30 people on board this week is the deadliest migration tragedy to date in the English Channel. Thus far, an estimates 1,600 migrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea.

This year the busiest and deadliest migrant route to Europe is the central Mediterranean where people travel in crowded boats from Libya and Tunisia — and in some cases all the way from Turkey — toward Italy. About 60,000 people have arrived in Italy by sea this year, and some 1,200 have died or disappeared on the journey, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Their travel vessels consist of rickety boats or rubber dinghies and are unable to stan dup to the sometimes inclement weather especially this time of the year what with the cold weather setting in.

The International Organization of Migration estimates that 23,000 people have perished since 2014 while trying to cross the Mediterranean, peaking at more than 5,000 in 2016. In the same seven-year period, about 166 people have died in the English channel.

The number of missing is an estimate partly based on information from survivors of shipwrecks.