It is feared that the latest migrant tragedy in the Mediterranean has claimed over 900 lives, after a boat capsized off the coast of Libya. Here, IBTimes UK explains, why despite the dangers, so many migrants try to make this deadly crossing into Europe.

The number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean into Europe has been increasing year on year. So far in 2015, it is believed 31,500 migrants have arrived from North Africa. The majority of these migrants flee from unstable, war-torn regions such as Libya and Syria.

The main crossing is made between the relatively small gap between North Africa and the Italian island of Lampedusa.

It is a perilous journey, with those aboard facing poor-quality boats, overcrowding and bad weather. Around 3,500 lives were lost in 2014. Up to 1,500 migrants are believed to have drowned in 2015 alone.

Italy ended its search and rescue operation, Mare Nostrum, in November 2014. It was replaced by smaller and cheaper EU operation called Triton.

While proponents said this would deter migrants from crossing, the latest tragedy has led to calls for the European Union to renew the operation.

All figures provided by UNHCR