GENEVA, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported Friday that at least 100 migrants are thought to have drowned in two shipwrecks in the Channel of Sicily Thursday evening, bringing the total number of fatalities in the Mediterranean this year to over 5,000.
Though IOM is still waiting for confirmation of the exact number of deaths in the two latest incidents, it indicated that 4,913 confirmed drownings have been recorded since January.
While the number of fatalities this year is much higher than in 2015 (3,771 deaths), the number of arrivals in Europe is much lower.
According to statistics, 358,403 migrants and refugees have reached European shores so far this year, down from over one million last year.
Most of those who have reached Europe in 2016 did so in Italy (179,525 arrivals) and Greece (173,244).
A further 5,445 and 189 entries have been documented in Spain and Cyprus respectively.