The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has warned that, based on current figures, the migrant death toll on the Mediterranean this year could top 30,000.
The IOM said late on Tuesday that it believed 1,727 migrants have died trying to make the journey to Europe from North Africa so far this year, compared to just 56 at the same time last year.
“IOM now fears that the 2014 total of 3,279 migrant deaths may be surpassed this year in a matter of weeks,” the group said in a statement.
“We just want to make sure people understand how much more … rapid these deaths have been coming this year,” IOM spokesman Joel Millman said earlier on Tuesday.
The IOM’s warning came as the UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR, said it believed that an incident over the weekend was the deadliest on record.
“Only 28 people are known to have survived the shipwreck,” UNHCR spokesman Arian Edwards told journalists in Geneva.