Mediterranean death toll hits record high

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Syrian refugees are rescued in the Mediterranean Sea. Photo: UNHCR/A. d’Amato

The death toll among refugees and migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea has reached an all-time high, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has reported.

At least 3,740 lives have been lost so far this year compared to 3,771 for the whole of 2015, the highest number on record.

Many of those making the journey have been boarding from Libya in North Africa to get to Italy, a route that UNHCR considers extremely dangerous due to the open sea, strong currents and grim weather.

Smugglers are also packing more people into fewer vessels, including flimsy inflatable rafts which tend to be unseaworthy.

Daniel Johnson has been speaking to UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler.

DUR- 3'59"

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