At least 810 people died crossing deserts, rivers and remote terrain on different migration routes across the Americas in 2019, making the year one of deadliest on record, according to a report from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Tuesday.
The UN migration agency said this is the highest number of deaths documented in this region since the agency began keeping records six years ago.
The U.S.-Mexico border region is one of the most visible sites of migrant deaths in the Americas. Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said most deaths were recorded in the waters of the Rio Bravo/Rio Grande, which runs between U.S. state of Texas and the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, where 109 people lost their lives in 2019, an increase of 26.7 percent from the 86 deaths recorded in 2018.
"These numbers are a sad reminder that the lack of options for safe and legal mobility pushes people onto more invisible and riskier paths, putting them at greater danger," said Frank Laczko, director of IOM's Data Analysis Centre.
Laczko added that the loss of lives should never be normalized nor tolerated as an assumed risk of irregular migration.
More than 3,800 deaths have been recorded in the Americas since 2014.