Austria is poised to enforce border checks and controls on its southern border with Italy as the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean continues.

The country's defence minister Hans Peter Doskozil warned that new border checks would start "very soon."

Austria's border with Hungary was bolstered in 2015 when tens of thousands of migrants arrived in Greece and made their way through the Balkan states towards Austria and Germany.

The minister said that if the current rate of migrants didn't ease then they would be forced to ramp up the controls.

Around 750 troops and four armoured vehicles have already been stationed at the Austro-Italian border as part of preparations.

Dskozil said: "I expect that very soon border controls will be activated and that an assistance deployment (by the military) will be requested."

Physical barriers have also been made ready to implement including at the Brenner Pass, one of the principal routes of travel through the Alps between the two nations.

Vincent Cochetel, the UNHCR's special envoy for the central Mediterranean said: "This is not sustainable. We need to have other countries joining Italy and sharing that responsibility."

In the six months of 2017 so far, nearly 85,000 migrants have arrived on the shores of Italy to make a safe passage through Europe.

However, the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean has claimed more than 2,000 lives.

The numbers are expected to rise during the summer months to make the most of the better conditions.

Number of illegal crossings made each year to Europe according to Frontex- the European Border and Coast Guard Agency is as follows:

2011- 146,349

2012- 77,932

2013- 106,800

2014- 283,175

2015- 1,822,260

2016- 500,248