More Migrants Die In Mediterranean As Risks Increase

BERLIN (AP) — New and more dangerous smuggling practices and attempts to reach Europe by riskier routes have led to a spike in the number of migrants dying as they attempt to cross the Mediterranean, according to a new analysis released Tuesday. The International Organization for Migration’s Global Migration Data Analysis Center in Berlin said 2,901 people died or disappeared crossing the Mediterranean in the first six months of 2016, a 37 percent increase over the first six months of last year. Most of the deaths, 2,484, occurred on the so-called Central Mediterranean route from North Africa to Italy, where some 70,000 people crossed in the first half of 2016. “The numbers have not increased hugely in terms of those crossing, but the risk of death remains high and is increasing,” said Frank Laczko, head of the Berlin center. The Central Mediterranean route has always been the most dangerous route because of the length of the journey, and smugglers continue to overfill unseaworthy vessels with desperate migrants. Adding to the problem now, however, are more frequent instances where smugglers are sending multiple boats at once, making rescue operations more difficult. In addition, newer routes, particularly from Egypt, are longer and