Hundreds of children drowned in the Mediterranean in 2015

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Greek volunteer life-guards help a young child out of a boat that reached the shores of Lesbos, having crossed the Aegean sea from Turkey. Photo: UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis

More than 340 children, many of them babies and toddlers, have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean with their families to reach Europe.

A joint statement was issued in Geneva on Friday by the UN Children's Fund, the UN refugee agency and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

These agencies are calling for more measures to increase safety for those escaping conflict and despair.

Ana Carmo has the story.

The image of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi washed up on a beach in Turkey made headlines around the world back in September.

Since then two children drown on average every day making the perilous journey to Europe.

The total number of children who have died may be greater, partner organizations have said, with their bodies lost at sea and never recovered.

Children now account for 36 per cent of those on the move.

The stretch of the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece is now among the deadliest routes in the world for refugees and migrants.

To reduce the death toll at sea, according to UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, people have to be able to move legally and safely.

Ana Carmo, United Nations.

Duration: 44"

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