GENEVA, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Almost 25,000 migrants and refugees have reached Italy by sea since the beginning of the year, up from 19,287 arrivals over the same period in 2016, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) reported Tuesday.
Representing a 25 percent increase, IOM said that if this trend continues, over 200,000 men, women and children are expected to reach the southern European nation by the end of the year.
According to statistics, migrant arrivals in Italy account for most of total maritime entries into Europe this year.
Indeed, IOM revealed that 29,369 migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean Sea since the start of the year, 24,513 of which have done so to reach Italian shores.
About 663 individuals have lost their lives attempting to cross Mediterranean sea routes, down from 749 over the same period last year.
Most of this year's fatalities (602) have been recorded on the central Mediterranean passage linking North Africa with Italy.