Figures released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on May 29 show that so far this year the total number of attempted migrant crossings in the Mediterranean has more than halved compared to the first five months of 2017.
The UN data on Mediterranean crossings shows that this fits in with a long-term trend, with journeys reducing year on year since 2015.
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Though this means that total fatalities in the Mediterranean are reducing, the rate of deaths has noticeably increased. Simultaneously, the most popular transit route changed from crossing from Turkey to Greece to the Libya to Italy passage, following the European Union’s (EU) agreement with Turkey aimed at reducing crossings.
(Read more WikiTribune coverage: EU’s refugee deterrent policies drive “suffering out of sight” say aid workers and Spain offers safe harbor to rescue boat blocked by Italy.)
The latest figures show more changes as a result of EU policy, as the route to Spain has become increasingly popular after the EU agreed to assist the Libyan coastguard, a policy that aid workers say is driving the most determined refugees to take greater risks, and contributing to the high rate of deaths.
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