GENEVA (AP) -- The U.N. migration agency says more than 500 migrants have lost their lives in the Americas so far this year, about a 33% increase from a year ago.
International Organization for Migration spokesman Joel Millman said Friday that "turmoil" in Venezuela may account for "much of 2019's fatality surge." More than 4 million people have left Venezuela since 2015.
IOM has confirmed 89 deaths of Venezuelans this year, second only to more than 100 who were of unknown nationalities.
In total, 514 people have died this year in the Americas through Aug. 14, up from 384 a year ago. It's the fastest that the 500 mark has been reached since IOM began counting in 2014.