The journey across the Mediterenean appears to be gaining popularity despite the tales of woe and anguish.

The European Unions border control agency, Frontex, says there have been contrasting fortunes for African seeking refuge in Europe especially in Italy and Spain.

The number of migrants reaching Italy fell dramatically in August, while arrivals through alternative routes to Europe stayed at a high level.

The number reaching Italy fell by 60 per cent in August compared to the previous month, while crossings into Spain remained relatively high, with an estimated 2,400 arrivals and crossings into Greece rose.

This had shown a decrease of two-thirds compared to the same period in 2016.

However, An estimated 2,400 people arrived in Spain in August, which is more than twice the number of arrivals compared to the same month in 2016.

In total, 13,600 people have reached Spain between January and August this year, which is a three-fold increase compared to the same eight months in 2016.

The drop in arrivals at the Italian coast can be attributed to Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni's policy to return illegal migrants to their countries of origin.

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