Migrant Crisis Deadly week in Mediterranean as smugglers pack boats - UNHCR

This year is "proving to be particularly deadly" with 2,510 lives lost in shipwrecks and capsizing, against 1,855 in the same period in 2015, UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said.

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A dead body is disembarked from the Italian Navy vessel Vega at the Reggio Calabria harbour, southern Italy, May 29, 2016. play A dead body is disembarked from the Italian Navy vessel Vega at the Reggio Calabria harbour, southern Italy, May 29, 2016. (REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello)
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At least 880 migrants and refugees died trying to cross the Mediterranean last week, the United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday, giving updated figures after interviewing survivors brought to Italy.

This year is "proving to be particularly deadly" with 2,510 lives lost in shipwrecks and capsizing, against 1,855 in the same period in 2015, UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said.

"At the moment (smugglers) are packing people on boats that are barely sea-worthy and many cases are not meant to make the crossing. What happens is as soon as they depart from shore they call for rescuers and then rescue services come and rescue them," Spindler told a news briefing.

"It's a race against time to get there before the boats sink, in some cases it gets there too late."

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