|Sept. 4, 2018 -- Mediterranean crossings are deadlier than ever, a new report by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, showed Monday.
The report showed that three years on from the shocking images of lifeless Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi on a Turkish beach, crossing the Mediterranean Sea has become even deadlier.
It showed that while the total number of people arriving in Europe has fallen, the rate of deaths has risen sharply, particularly for those crossing via the Mediterranean Sea.
More than 1,600 people have died or gone missing while attempting to reach Europe so far this year, said the report.
"This report once again confirms the Mediterranean as one of the world's deadliest sea crossings," said UNHCR director of the Bureau for Europe, Pascale Moreau.
In the Central Mediterranean, one person died or went missing for every 18 people who crossed to Europe between January and July 2018, compared to one death for every 42 people who crossed in the same period in 2017, according to the report.
"With the number of people arriving on European shores falling, this is no longer a test of whether Europe can manage the numbers, but whether Europe can muster the humanity to save lives," said Moreau.
In recent months, UNHCR, together with the UN migration agency, IOM, has called for a predictable, regional approach for the rescue and disembarkation of people in distress in the Mediterranean Sea.
UNHCR said it is also calling on Europe to increase access to safe and legal pathways for refugees. This includes increasing resettlement places, removing obstacles to family reunification, and helping provide alternatives to potentially deadly journeys.
The report also outlined the dangers refugees face while traveling along land routes to or within Europe.
It noted the steps that some have taken to prevent refugees and migrants from accessing their territory, urging states to grant those seeking international protection readily-available access to asylum procedures.