World

Group says nearly 250,000 migrants, refugees have crossed Mediterranean to Europe this year

  • A man carries a girl in his arm as migrants arrive at a coast on a dinghy after crossing from Turkey in the southeastern island of Kos, Greece, during the sunrise early Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. Greece has become the main gateway to Europe for tens of thousands of refugees and economic migrants, mainly Syrians fleeing war, as fighting in Libya has made the alternative route from north Africa to Italy increasingly dangerous. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    A man carries a girl in his arm as migrants arrive at a coast on a dinghy after crossing from Turkey in the southeastern island of Kos, Greece, during the sunrise early Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. Greece has become the main gateway to Europe for tens of thousands of refugees and economic migrants, mainly Syrians fleeing war, as fighting in Libya has made the alternative route from north Africa to Italy increasingly dangerous. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)  (The Associated Press)

  • Migrants enjoy a drink at a park where hundreds of migrants are temporarily residing in Athens, Greece, Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. Greece is Europe’s main gateway for refugees and economic migrants, after the alternative route from Libya to Italy became too dangerous. More than 130,000 people have reached the Greek islands this year - a 750 percent increase on 2014. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

    Migrants enjoy a drink at a park where hundreds of migrants are temporarily residing in Athens, Greece, Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. Greece is Europe’s main gateway for refugees and economic migrants, after the alternative route from Libya to Italy became too dangerous. More than 130,000 people have reached the Greek islands this year - a 750 percent increase on 2014. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)  (The Associated Press)

  • A volunteer delivers milk to migrants at a park where hundreds of migrants are temporarily residing in Athens, Greece, Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. Greece is Europe’s main gateway for refugees and economic migrants, after the alternative route from Libya to Italy became too dangerous. More than 130,000 people have reached the Greek islands this year - a 750 percent increase on 2014.  (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

    A volunteer delivers milk to migrants at a park where hundreds of migrants are temporarily residing in Athens, Greece, Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. Greece is Europe’s main gateway for refugees and economic migrants, after the alternative route from Libya to Italy became too dangerous. More than 130,000 people have reached the Greek islands this year - a 750 percent increase on 2014. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)  (The Associated Press)

The International Organization for Migration says the number of migrants and asylum seekers who have crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe this year is nearing 250,000 and already is above the total for the whole of 2014.

The Geneva-based IOM said Friday that Greece has reported 134,988 arrivals from Turkey this year, while Italy recorded 93,540 newcomers up to the end of July. Adding in arrivals in Spain and Malta, the group says that 237,000 people have made the crossing in 2015. It is forecasting that the total will top a quarter-million by the end of August.

Over the whole of last year, 219,000 made the risky crossing to Europe.

The IOM estimated that at least 2,300 people have died trying to make the crossing this year.