TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - So far this year, more than 46,000 asylum-seekers and migrants have reached Europe's shores after crossing the Mediterranean Sea -- five times fewer than during the first half of 2016, the UN refugee agency said.
Arrivals to Italy and Malta fell to under 17,000 during the first half of this year from above 85,000 during the same period in 2017, IOM said.
But UNHCR spokesman Charlie Yaxley told AFP that as "numbers of people crossing have gone down... the rate of people dying has gone up quite sharply".
So far in 2018, more than 1,400 people have died while trying to make the journey -- all but a few hundred of them along the particularly dangerous central Mediterranean route to Italy and Malta, according to numbers from the UN's migration agency, IOM.
During the first half of the year, one person died for every 19 who attempted to make the central Mediterranean crossing, compared to one in 38 during the same period of 2017.
One in seven died
June proved particularly deadly, Yaxley said, with one person perishing for every seven who took the central route.
"This suggests that people are being pushed into taking increasingly desperate and dangerous journeys," he said, stressing the urgency of strengthening search and rescue capacities.
Despite the dramatic drop in numbers, Europe is facing a large-scale political crisis over the migrants and refugees who continue to arrive from Africa and the Middle East.