A rally held on both sides of the US-Mexico border fence remembers migrants who have died trying to cross the border. (Photo: IC)
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Friday its Missing Migrants Project found that at least 514 people have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019, an increase of just over one-third from one year ago.
IOM spokesperson Joel Millman said at a UN briefing here that in the same period in 2018, the deaths of 384 people were recorded.
"This is the earliest point in any of the past six years that IOM's Missing Migrants Project has reached a threshold of 500 or more deaths in the Americas," said Millman.
In prior years, the 500-death mark in the Americas was reached in either September (2016), October (2017 and 2018) or December (2015), or, in the case of 2014, not at all, as only 495 deaths were recorded of migrants in transit that year.
Nearly half of all Americas' deaths -- 247 through Aug. 15 -- have been recorded on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The rest were reported either further south, in Central America (80), or near Caribbean Sea islands (151) or in South America (30).