More than 350,000 migrants cross Mediterranean this year: IOM

Migrants wait to be rescued from an overcrowded boat off the coast of Libya on August 23, 2015 (AFP Photo/) (Guardia Costiera/AFP/File)

Geneva (AFP) - More than 350,000 migrants have risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean this year, and 2,600 have died while making the perilous journey to Europe, the International Organization for Migration said Tuesday.

The latest figures from IOM show that 234,778 migrants had landed in Greece and another 114,276 in Italy, with most of the other arrivals split between Spain (2,166) and the island of Malta (94).

The figure from 2015 already dwarfs that of 2014, when 219,000 made the crossing throughout the entire year.

The majority of arrivals in Greece were Syrians fleeing the country's protracted civil war, while Eritreans topped the list of migrants who have landed in Italy.

Aside from deaths among those trying to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean, IOM noted that another 1,000 people had lost their lives this year along various other migration routes, including the Sahara desert and South Asia's Bay of Bengal.

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