GENEVA – The Latest on migrants seeking sanctuary in Europe (all times local):
An international migration agency says 368 people died trying to cross the Mediterranean last month, nearly one in six of them children, as minors make up a growing percentage of those making the treacherous trip.
The International Organization for Migration says more than 62,000 people crossed the Aegean in January — over 90 percent of them from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq — and 272 died on that route. Another 5,000 people crossed the central Mediterranean from Libya to Italy.
IOM spokesman Joel Millman said 60 children aged under 18 were among those who died, bringing the total to 330 children who have died on the Mediterranean in the last five months.
Millman told reporters Tuesday in Geneva that the proportion of unaccompanied minors has "grown enormously." Nearly 20,000 made the crossing last month, or about one-third of the total — up from a rate of about one in seven in 2015.
A Turkish news agency says at least nine migrants — two of them children — have drowned in a new boat sinking accident off the Turkish coast.
The private Dogan news agency says the migrants drowned Tuesday near the Aegean coastal town of Seferihisar, which is close to the Greek island of Samos. Two migrants were rescued while 11 others had apparently managed to reach the shore, the report said.
Officials could not immediately be reached for confirmation.
On Saturday, at least 37 migrants, among them several babies and children, drowned after their boat struck rocks and capsized while attempting the short sea journey from the town of Ayvacik, north of Seferihisar, to the island of Lesbos.