Nearly 300 migrants arrive in Spain’s Canaries, one dead
Spain’s coast guard has rescued nearly 300 migrants from several boats near the Canary Islands, including one with a dead body on board, officials said Wednesday, the latest arrivals in a migration surge to the archipelago this year.
At least 283 migrants have since Tuesday been plucked from eight boats near the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean west of Morocco, a spokeswoman for the central government’s representative on the archipelago said.
The body of one migrant was found on board a boat carrying 57 migrants, including a child and two women, found on Tuesday off the island of Tenerife, a coast guard spokesman said.
Spain’s coast guard rescued 126 migrants on Wednesday morning from three boats spotted off the islands of Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, the nearest of the Canary Islands to the African coast.
With migrant reception centres across the archipelago stretched to capacity, over 300 migrants who arrived in recent days are now being housed in a makeshift camp in Gran Canaria’s Arguineguin port.
The route from western Africa to the Spanish islands is notoriously dangerous, but in recent times it has increasingly attracted migrants wanting to reach European shores as authorities have cracked down on migrant boats setting out on Mediterranean routes.
At least 239 migrants have died between January 1 and August 19 trying to reach the Canary Islands, compared to 210 during all of last year, and just 43 in 2018, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The archipelago has been a hotspot for migrants before — in 2006, some 30,000 migrants managed to reach the Canary Islands before stepped-up Spanish patrols then slowed the pace.