The migrant route between Western Africa and the Canary Islands is proving to be increasingly deadly, as 29 people -- including seven children -- died last Friday out of a total of 55 who made the journey. Another incident took place Monday night, in which 13 people died off the coast of Fuerteventura. The NGO Caminando Fronteras denounced "a humanitarian crisis".
Fifty-five people set sail from the Western Sahara coast on August 15 on a makeshift boat that was later found adrift in the middle of the ocean and rescued by the Spanish authorities last Friday. Twenty-nine people died, seven of whom were just children.
This turned out to be yet another tragedy documented by Caminando Fronteras, an NGO that has been working for years to bring to light what happens almost daily on this migratory route which is one of the most dangerous sea crossings to Europe.
According to Caminando Fronteras, nearly 2,000 people have died or gone missing between Africa and the Canary Islands since the start of the year.
Pregnant woman among victims
Last Friday, the Spanish maritime rescue service announced it had found four dead bodies aboard the boat where the incident took place. One of the dead bodies was that of a young girl.
At the time of the rescue, which took place more than 500 kilometers southeast of the island of El Hierro, 27 survivors were found aboard. However, upon arrival at the port in Gran Canaria the next day, one of them had died.
Emergency services said the death was caused by a heart attack. EFE news agency said it was a pregnant woman. The Red Cross told EFE several of the survivors were in "very bad" condition. Some of them, however, had the strength to tell the story of what they had just lived through.
Monday night another incident off Fuerteventura, at least 13 dead
Spain's maritime rescue service on Monday night rescued a boat of migrants from Africa off the coast of Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands, with 31 people aboard and a dead body.
However, at least 13 people died in all, based on testimonies from several survivors aboard the boat, reported EFE news agency. The survivors said between 12 and more than 25 people died during the crossing. The Canary Islands emergency service said one of the 31 people rescued alive has been hospitalised with "severe hypothermia". Three people were assisted by the Red Cross for "mild pathologies".
EFE reported that two people were declared dead after the migrants were rescued and brought to Fuerteventura, but this news has not yet been confirmed by official sources.
NGO denounces 'a humanitarian crisis'
Tuesday's tragedy is only the most recent of the many that have taken place in the past months on the migrant route between Africa and the Canary Islands.
Caminando Fronteras spokesperson Helena Maleno said "a humanitarian crisis" is unfolding on this route, which in the past two months has taken on particularly "terrible" dimensions.