Over 30,000 irregular migrants have now reached the Canary Islands this year
The current migration crisis in the Canary Islands is on the verge of surpassing the largest influx of immigrant boats in 2006, with over 30,000 survivors arriving on the shores so far this year, with notably more women and teenagers starting to make the crossing from West Africa than ever before.
As of October 15th, according to the latest official data from the Spanish Ministry of Interior, a staggering 30,400 migrants have reached the Canary Islands in 2023, inching close to the 31,678 migrants counted in the 2006 cayuco crisis by year-end.
These numbers are based on figures from Maritime Rescue, corroborated by Europa Press, which account for 23,573 arrivals up to mid-October, with an additional 6,872 people arriving in the last 15 days of the month.
The Ministry del Interior regularly provides official updates on irregular migrant arrivals in Spain every 15 days, with the next balance expected to be published later today, October 31st. Their recent data reveals a 79.4% increase in migrant arrivals to the Canary Islands this year.
This migration surge has been particularly pronounced in October, with over 15,000 arrivals during the month so far, more than half of the annual total. The first half of October witnessed 8,561 migrants arriving, and the second half of the month has seen at least 6,700 more arrivals.
Tragically, yesterday, a cayuco carrying over 200 sub-Saharan migrants, including two people who had died on board, arrived at the Los Cristianos port in the south of Tenerife. Another passenger died on the pier after the boat had docked. In total, there were 209 people on board, including 154 males, 21 females, and 34 possibly underage teenagers, as reported by Maritime Rescue.
Regrettably, mortality remains a distressing aspect of the Canary Islands migration route, with the three deaths yesterday adding to four that occurred the previous week (three on El Hierro and one in Tenerife), along with around twenty people still missing from a cayuco that was eventually rescued off the south coast of Granadilla.
It is important to note that the numbers would be even higher were it not for recent interceptions carried out off the coasts of Mauritania and Senegal.
Moreover, the current crisis reveals a significant increase in the presence of women, including pregnant or newly postpartum women taking life-threatening risks for the sake of their children, as well as more minors (under 18s) on board the boats. Notably, there has also been a concerning rise in the use of inflatable boats, which are significantly more fragile than traditional pateras or cayucos, often used for fishing in the migrants' home countries.
In any case, lives continue to be lost on a shockingly massive scale in the waters of the Canary Islands, which have become a tragic common grave, with no apparent remedy in sight.
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