The UN on Friday warned about a deadly beginning of the year for migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea and appealed for more resettlement places and other safe alternatives to protect refugees.
Speaking at a news conference in Geneva on Friday, the UN migration agency, IOM, spokesman Joel Millman said: "This has been really deadly beginning of the year."
Some 192 deaths of migrants were recorded in the Mediterranean in the first 11 days of 2018, compared with 12 deaths in the same period in 2017, he said.
"1,476 migrants and refugees entered in Europe by sea through 11 January, with around 600 each landing in Italy and Greece and the remainder in Spain.
“This compares with almost an identical number -- 1,159 -- coming ashore during a similar period in 2017," he said.
On Monday, 64 migrants were feared drowned after a rubber dinghy sank off the coast of Libya over last weekend, IOM said. These deaths represent the first major migrant tragedy of 2018 in the Mediterranean Sea.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, spokesman William Spindler also appealed to countries "for help in saving human lives by offering more resettlement places and other safe alternatives to protection for refugees, including through family reunification."
The UNHCR has received about 13,000 offers of resettlement places in 2018 and 2019, Spindler said.