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Drownings rise among migrants trying to reach Europe by sea

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Drownings rise among migrants trying to reach Europe by sea

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A United Nations report says nearly 2,000 migrants trying to reach Europe from Libya have drowned in the Mediterranean this year.

The UN’s refugee agency says the numbers include more than 300 people who died in three separate incidents since last week when boats capsized off the Libyan coast.

The violent turmoil in Libya which has long been a major departure point for people trying to reach Europe by sea has exacerbated the problem, according to the report.

A total of 124,380 boat people – largely fleeing war, violence and persecution – have landed in Europe since January, many after being rescued by an Italian navy and coast guard operation dubbed “Mare Nostrum”, or “Our Sea”.