As UK politicians struggle to get to grips with the electorate’s momentous decision to leave the EU, one of the major issues behind the vote is getting worse by the day, official figures show.
The statistics, which critics said proved the EU’s immigration policy was a “complete failure”, show alarming rises in seabound attempts to enter Europe.
The new study from the International Organisation for Migration, an internationally funded research body with offices in 100 countries, found that some 227,316 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 – mainly arriving in Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Spain.
The flow of migrants has increased from 141,969 in the same period last year and one observer condemned the record numbers as an “utter failure of EU migration policy”.
The study found that migrants are increasingly risking the perilous journeys, with some 2,920 dying, mainly from drowning, this year alone – a dramatic rise on the 1,838 who perished during the first six months of 2015.
This means that migrant fatalities in the Mediterranean in 2016 are now 1,082 more than last year’s mid-year total.
The 383 deaths in June – slightly fewer than 13 per day – were the highest monthly total for June in three years.
In the first three days of July, two landings took place in Italy. Some 352 rescued migrants were brought to Augusta and 349 to Catania.
The Italian coastguard said huge numbers were now having to be rescued, with spikes in the numbers whenever…