While the Spanish Canary Islands have seen tens of thousands of migrants arrive in recent years, the Balearic Islands have recently also seen an increase in migrant arrivals.
At least 113 migrants arrived on the islands of Mallorca and Formentera on Wednesday (June 8), according to reports from news agency dpa citing the local Guardia Civil.
The migrants reportedly hail primarily from North Africa and are mostly male, though there were also women among them, police said.
The migrants arrived in groups of 14 to 27 people aboard six boats at different beaches on the two islands between the early morning hours until shortly after noon, according to local news outlet Mallorca Diario. Their report indicated that some of the migrants were intercepted off shore and brought to the islands by Spanish authorities, while others arrived independently. Police said the migrants were doing well, considering the circumstances.
Balearics: Increase in migrant arrivals expected
Spanish newspaper ABC reported that authorities on the Balearics are expecting many irregular migrant arrivals over the next few months. That’s because the relatively calm seas and warm temperatures make the crossing from northern Africa slightly less dangerous during the summer months.
Arrivals on the Balearic Islands are also expected to increase given that many migrants arrive after setting off from Algeria. The north African country just suspended a treaty with Spain that included measures aimed at halting migration to Spain.
Mallorca and Formentera are part of the Spanish island group Balearics, which is located in the Western Mediterranean, roughly 250 kilometers across the sea from the Algerian coast.
More than 380 migrants died in Western Med in 2021
Within Spain, the Canary Islands – located in the Atlantic off northwestern Africa – tend to see the largest share of migrant arrivals. But the Balearic Islands have increasingly become an arrival point for migrants seeking to make it to Europe from northern Africa. 2021 saw a record number of arrivals on the islands -- 164 boats with a total of 2,402 migrants.
The UN migration agency IOM found that at least 384 people went missing (and very likely died) during their crossing in the Western Mediterranean – trying to reach the Balearic Islands or mainland Spain -- last year.
With dpa, Reuters.