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UN agency Trips across Mediterranean fall, but risks rise

GENEVA — The U.N. refugee agency says people smugglers are taking greater risks to ferry their human cargo toward Europe as Libya’s coast guard intercepts more and more boats carrying migrants, increasing the likelihood that those on board may die during the Mediterranean journeys.

That’s one of the key findings from the latest UNHCR report about efforts to reach Europe. It says that even though the number of crossings and deaths has plunged compared to recent years, the voyage is more deadly in percentage terms.

The report says 2,276 people died last year while trying to cross, or one death for every 42 arrivals.

This year, it’s 1,095 deaths, or one out of every 18 arrivals. In June alone, the proportion hit one death for every seven arrivals.