The UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that more than 400 immigrants died trying to cross the Mediterranean in the first three months of 2023 - the deadliest first quarter on record since 2017 - IOM added. 

According to the IOM's Missing Migrants Project, 441 immigrants' deaths were documented from January to March this year, the highest number of deaths in a quarter since 2017 when 742 victims were recorded.

IOM indicated that the increase came amid reports of delays in government-led rescue responses and hindering of search and rescue operations by ships operated by non-governmental organizations, attributing the deaths of at least 127 people to delays in state-led rescue operations in six incidents, and saying that the total absence of response in another incident led to the death of at least 73 people.

IOM added that about 3000 migrants arrived in Italy during the Easter holidays, bringing the total number of people who arrived in European countries this year to 31,192, about four times the 7,900 people rescued in the same period last year.