At least 340 migrant children, an average of two per day, have died in the eastern Mediterranean since September, United Nations leaders said Friday.
Many of the children who drown are babies and toddlers, and the actual number of deaths was likely higher, according to the statement issued by the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR), the UN children's fund (UNICEF) and the International Organization for Migration.
"These tragic deaths in the Mediterranean are unbearable and must stop," said Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees.
The three organizations issued their appeal as government leaders of Germany, France and Greece were meeting in Brussels to discuss the inflow of migrants to Europe. The European Union last week issued steps that Athens should implement to better control its borders, where most migrants cross from Turkey before moving along to wealthier northern and western European countries.
Many children were trying to join relatives who are already in Europe.
Since the start of the year, at least 410 of the 80,000 migrants who crossed the eastern Mediterranean have died, a manyfold increase over the same period last year.