Europe

UN: Risky sea crossings fuel sharp rise in migrant deaths

  • FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2016 file photo the dead body of a migrant boy lies on the beach near the Aegean town of Ayvacik, Canakkale, Turkey. Migrant deaths rose sharply in 2016, particularly in the Mediterranean despite more rescue efforts and fewer people attempting the journey, as smugglers made ever-riskier attempts on increasingly unseaworthy vessels, according to new United Nations statistics released Friday, March 17, 2017.  (AP Photo/Halit Onur Sandal)

    FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2016 file photo the dead body of a migrant boy lies on the beach near the Aegean town of Ayvacik, Canakkale, Turkey. Migrant deaths rose sharply in 2016, particularly in the Mediterranean despite more rescue efforts and fewer people attempting the journey, as smugglers made ever-riskier attempts on increasingly unseaworthy vessels, according to new United Nations statistics released Friday, March 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Halit Onur Sandal)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this four-picture combo a boat overturns as people try to jump in the water off the Libyan coast on May 25, 2016. The Italian navy says it recovered a few bodies from the overturned migrant ship, while some 500 migrants who were on board were rescued safely. Migrant deaths rose sharply in 2016, particularly in the Mediterranean despite more rescue efforts and fewer people attempting the journey, as smugglers made ever-riskier attempts on increasingly unseaworthy vessels, according to new United Nations statistics released Friday, March 17, 2017.  (Italian navy via AP, File)

    FILE - In this four-picture combo a boat overturns as people try to jump in the water off the Libyan coast on May 25, 2016. The Italian navy says it recovered a few bodies from the overturned migrant ship, while some 500 migrants who were on board were rescued safely. Migrant deaths rose sharply in 2016, particularly in the Mediterranean despite more rescue efforts and fewer people attempting the journey, as smugglers made ever-riskier attempts on increasingly unseaworthy vessels, according to new United Nations statistics released Friday, March 17, 2017. (Italian navy via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

A U.N. agency says migrant deaths rose sharply last year, particularly in the Mediterranean, as smugglers made ever-riskier attempts to ferry asylum seekers and refugees on increasingly unseaworthy vessels.

The International Organization for Migration documented 7,763 migrant deaths in 2016 worldwide, 27 percent more than the 6,107 recorded in 2015.

The report released Friday said two-thirds of the deaths took place in the Mediterranean, where 5,098 people lost their lives trying to make the trip from North Africa, Turkey and the Middle East to Europe, according to information collected by the IOM's Data Analysis Center in Berlin.

The number of Mediterranean casualties last year was 35 percent higher than in 2015, despite more organized rescue efforts and fewer people trying to make the perilous journey.