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700+ migrants missing or feared dead in Mediterranean shipwrecks

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At least 65 migrants have died from shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea in the past week, and officials fear that number could soar above 700.

Most of the victims were on three ill-fated boats.

About 100 people remain missing Sunday after a boat capsized Wednesday, said Federico Fossi, spokesman for the United Nations’ refugee agency. Five people died in that disaster.

On Thursday, another migrant boat capsized and sank, Fossi said. Of the 670 on board, 15 people died, about 104 survived and roughly 550 remain missing, Fossi said.

And on Friday, another migrant boat started taking in water. It’s not clear how many people were on board, but at least 135 people survived and at least 45 people died.

Fossi said most of the migrants were from Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan.

The deaths mark the latest wave of fatalities involving migrants boarding overcrowded boats in a desperate attempt to reach Europe.

At least 1,475 migrants have died so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration. But that number could skyrocket if the roughly 650 missing are confirmed dead.

In just the first five months of this year, more than 194,600 migrants have fled to Europe. That’s double the number of migrants who fled in the first five months of 2015.

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