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UN Says Record Number Of Migrants Die In Mediterranean In 2011

A photo released by French authorities of a fishing boat carrying around 300 illegal migrants in the Mediterranean Sea before being intercepted in September 2008.
The UN refugee agency estimates that more than 1,500 people died last year while trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe amid the uprisings of the Arab Spring.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says this makes 2011 the deadliest year for this region since the agency began recording such statistics five years ago.

In a statement on January 31, the UNHCR also said that in 2011, more than 58,000 people arrived in Europe crossing the Mediterranean, another record. The previous high was in 2008, when 54,000 people reached Greece, Italy, and Malta.

Compiled from agency reports