A Deadly Year At SeaEmin Menguarslan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
It was the deadliest year on record on the Mediterranean Sea as refugees and migrants from Syria, Nigeria, Afghanistan and other war-torn countries attempted to reach Italy and Greece. Although fewer people attempted the dangerous voyage in 2016, more died in crossing than in previous years. Hundreds drowned in November alone.
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Arrivals to Italy have stayed about the same from 2015 to 2016, but officials find that more people are staying to start new lives in the country. Asylum claims have nearly doubled there, and more than 158,000 people are now in Italian reception facilities. The number of arrivals to Greece, however, has dropped by more than half after a March deal between the European Union and Turkey, which allows Greece to send migrants back to Turkey.
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The International Monetary Fund predicts 1.3 million migrants could find their way to Europe by 2017, putting considerable strain on those countries. And although the EU agreed to relocate some 160,000 asylum-seekers in 2015, fewer than 3 percent have actually made it through the process. The UN Refugee Agency is calling for more effective strategies to increase options for refugees, including private sponsorships, family reunification and student scholarships.