(AP) — The sinking of a boat with more than 30 people on board this week is the deadliest migration tragedy to date in the English Channel. But migrant shipwrecks of that scale are not uncommon in the Mediterranean Sea, where U.N. officials say about 1,600 people have died or gone missing trying to reach Europe this year.
The death toll is higher than last year, but by no means unique. The International Organization of Migration estimates that 23,000 people have perished since 2014 while trying to cross the Mediterranean with the help of human smugglers, peaking at more than 5,000 in 2016. In the same seven-year period, about 166 people have died in the English channel.