UN: More than 500 migrants have died in Americas this year

UN: More than 500 migrants have died in Americas this year
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More than 500 migrants have died in the Americas so far this year, according to the United Nations migration agency, a big increase from a year ago that may be linked to unrest in Venezuela. 

Through Aug. 14, the United Nations has tabulated 514 deaths by migrants traveling through South, Central and North America, a 33 percent increase from the 384 at this point a year ago.

This is the fastest that the total has reached 500 deaths for the year since the International Organization for Migration (IOM) began counting.

The figures do not include the eight people who have died in detention in the U.S. or the three who have died in detention in Mexico. 

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IOM spokesman Joel Millman said that “turmoil” in Venezuela might be the cause of “much of 2019′s fatality surge,” according to The Associated Press. The IOM said that 89 Venezuelan migrants have died. 

Millman said that deaths at the U.S.-Mexico border have remained relatively constant over the past several years at about one per day. 

Migrants have been flooding out of Venezuela due to political and economic turmoil in that country, though many are facing new barriers in neighboring countries.

Drowning including shipwrecks and failed river crossings resulted in 259 of the deaths, according to the IOM.