GENEVA, 5th January 2015 (WAM) — More than 3700 migrants died crossing the Mediterranean in an attempt to reach Europe in 2015, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said Tuesday, making it the deadliest year on record for such deaths.

The organisation said in a statement that 3771 people died attempting to make the crossing on vessels last year — a rate of more than 10 deaths each day.

By comparison, 3279 migrant deaths were recorded in the Mediterranean in 2014.

More than three-quarters (77%) of the deaths occurred along the central Mediterranean route, which was typically used by people smugglers operating from Libya’s coast, the IOM said.

“It is shocking and inexcusable that desperate migrants and refugees have lost their lives in record numbers this year, when they should not,” the IOM’s Director General William Lacy Swing said in a statement.

He said the international community must act now to stop this trend against desperate migrants.

The number of migrants entering, or attempting to enter, Europe exploded last year, as the world witnessed an unprecedented surge of people fleeing wars, persecution and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.

“One of the major challenges for the coming years would be for the international community to work diligently towards changing from the current toxic migration narrative to one that is more historically accurate, namely, that migration has been overwhelmingly positive,” Swing added.

WAM/MMYS