Irregular migration to the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean has risen over seven-fold this year compared to the same time last year | Photo: DESIREE MARTIN AFP/File
Irregular migration to the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean has risen over seven-fold this year compared to the same time last year | Photo: DESIREE MARTIN AFP/File

The Spanish coast guard has confirmed that they rescued 283 migrants from several boats on Tuesday and Wednesday as they approached the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. Among the new arrivals, one dead body was found on board.

The Spanish coast guard around the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean has been busy in the last few days. According to a spokesperson for the central government's representative for the islands, who spoke to the news agency Agence France Presse (AFP) a total of 283 people were "plucked from eight boats near the islands west of Morocco."

On board one of the small boats, carrying 57 migrants, was also a dead body, as well as a child and two women. That boat was spotted off Tenerife on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, according to AFP, three more boats were spotted off the islands of Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.

An article on the online portal Europa Press in Spanish claimed there had been a "600% rise in the numbers of migrants arriving on the Canary Islands in the first eight months of this year." That’s according to figures they obtained from the Ministry of the Interior, they say.

More than 4,000 arrivals this year

AFP corroborates this figures saying that according to the Ministry of the Interior 3,933 people had arrived up to August 31, which means that now more than 4,000 have arrived on the islands.

Now Spanish authorities say that their reception centers are full and the latest arrivals will be housed in a makeshift camp on the island of Gran Canaria, close to the port of Arguineguin. The new arrivals, writes Europa Press, were assisted by the emergency services and members of the Spanish Red Cross. All of them appeared to be "in good health," they added.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the increase in the numbers of arrivals, confirmed deaths have also risen. This year the International Organization for Migration (IOM) confirmed at least 239 migrants had died en route to the Canaries, compared to 210 last year and just 43 in 2018.

In contrast, writes Europa Press, arrivals of migrants on the Spanish mainland are down by 26% for the first eight months of this year.

Back in 2006, AFP writes that "some 30,000 migrants managed to reach the Canary Islands before stepped-up Spanish patrols slowed the pace."

With AFP and Europapress

 

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