Almost as many migrants have died at sea this year as all of last year, even though far fewer have attempted the perilous crossing, the United Nations refugee agency said Tuesday.
With more than two months left in 2016, at least 3,470 people died trying to cross the rough seas, just less than the 3,771 reported dead in 2015.
About 2,200 migrants were plucked to safety in the central Mediterranean in 21 rescue missions on Monday and 16 bodies were recovered, the Italian Coast Guard said. More than 153,000 people have arrived on its shores as economic migrants and asylum seekers, already matching the total number of arrivals in 2015.
"I think there is a growing realization that these are global issues, global problems that affect the whole of humanity and only working together we can address the root causes, we can address what pushes people to move on", Grandi said.
This year only 327,800 people made the same trip.
The likelihood of death while making the journey has dramatically increased, Spindler says: "From one death for every 269 arrivals, last year, in 2016 the likelihood of death has spiraled to one in 88".
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While the Libya-Italy route does not command the same numbers of refugees as some other routes, it is considered one of the most risky.
And more people are traveling on the perilous route from Libya to Italy.
The UN agency said smugglers are now sending thousands of people on flimsy inflatable rafts from Libya to Italy in mass embarkations. This may be to do with the shifting smuggler business model or geared towards lowering detection risks, but it also makes the work of rescuers harder.
"Addressing this situation while ensuring functioning asylum systems remains a policy challenge for many countries, but measures to save lives are available and UNHCR urges all countries to do more in this regard", a United Nations refugee agency briefing said.
UNHCR official also underscored that the high death rate is a reminder of the importance of continuing and robust search and rescue capacities - without which the fatality rates would nearly certainly be higher.