Refugees: More than 500 migrants rescued off the Canary Islands

Refugees: More than 500 migrants rescued off the Canary Islands

More and more migrants from Africa are crossing the Atlantic in overcrowded boats to reach the Canary Islands. The journey is dangerous. On the islands, resentment towards Madrid and the EU is growing.

Within a few hours, Spanish rescue teams rescued hundreds of migrants who were in distress off the Canary Islands.

The Spanish maritime rescue service said that the 516 refugees were travelling on five boats. The aid teams worked all night to rescue everyone, they said. The migrants, including numerous women, minors and babies, mainly came from sub-Saharan African countries. They were taken to the islands of Tenerife, Gran Canaria and El Hierro, among others. Many of them are in critical condition. According to occupants of one of the boats, at least ten to twelve people died during the crossing in the Atlantic. The bodies were thrown overboard. One woman gave birth to a child during the crossing, reported the regional newspaper “La Provincia” and other media, citing the rescue teams.

Increase in migration on the route since autumn 2022

For some time now, more refugee boats have been arriving on the Canary Islands, around 100 kilometers off the northwest coast of Africa. Migration on this route has continued to increase since last autumn. It is suspected that this is linked, among other things, to the political and social crisis in Senegal. According to the latest survey by the Ministry of the Interior in Madrid, almost 21,000 migrants arrived in Spain by sea in the first five months of the year. That is 136 percent more than in the same period last year.

Regional Prime Minister Fernando Clavijo again called for urgent action from Spain and Europe. The situation was “not fair,” he complained. “Neither for the people fleeing hunger and death, nor for the Canary Islands,” which “have to bear all this pressure on Europe’s southern border alone.”

Many deaths in attempts to reach Spain by sea

According to the respected Spanish aid organization Caminando Fronteras, which has very good connections in Africa, at least 6,618 migrants died last year while trying to reach Spain by sea. That was 177 percent more than in 2022, when at least 2,390 deaths were registered. The majority of the deaths, 6,007, occurred last year on the route from West Africa to the Canary Islands. A total of 611 deaths were registered on the so-called Mediterranean route and in the Strait of Gibraltar, according to the organization.

Source: Stern

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