IOM: Refugee arrivals in Europe down sharply but deaths up

The number of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe has fallen sharply this year but migration to the continent has grown more deadly, according to new data released Tuesday by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

From January 1 through September 25, 302,149 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea, a drop of more than 40 percent from the same period last year, the IOM, the largest migration organization in the world, reported.

Refugee deaths rose, however, with the IOM recording 3,501 refugee and migrant fatalities through September 25, up nearly 20 percent from the same period last year.

In the latest tragedy, a boat overloaded with at least 600 migrants headed for Europe capsized off the coast of Egypt last week, killing at least 170 people.

Last year more than 1 million refugees and migrants fled to Europe, as the conflict in Syria spurred the largest migration crisis in the world since World War II.

Syrian refugees accounted for the largest group of migrants seeking asylum in Europe, followed by migrants from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Most refugees enter Europe either through Greece or Italy. The IOM said that while arrivals to Italy have remained steady this year, arrivals in Greece have fallen by 20,000 since late March. Since Friday, it recorded a mere 51 arrivals in Greece.