Record numbers of illegal African migrants reach Spain’s Canary Islands

Record numbers of illegal African migrants reach Spain’s Canary Islands

Almost 1,500 African migrants have reached Spain’s Canary Islands over the past weekend only, prompting an urgent €50 million aid package from the Spanish government along with a pledge to organize their prompt transfer to the mainland.

The record influx of African migrants arriving at the shores of the Canary Islands via various precarious vessels from sub-Saharan Africa within only about 48 hours was a remarkable event, which involved a single boat carrying a record-breaking 321 individuals, as reported by the rescue services of this Spanish archipelago on Sunday (22 October).

Over the past weeks, there has been a noticeable increase in migrant arrivals that has brought the total number of migrants reaching the Canary Islands to 23,537 people between 1 January and 15 October this year, according to the Spanish Interior Ministry. This marks an 80% increase compared to the same period the preceding year, reflecting the evolving dynamics of human migration.

The latest group of illegal arrivals comes only days after Spain’s acting migration minister has pledged to put together a €50 million aid package to help the autonomous community’s government cope with what he described as an “extraordinary migration flow.” José Luis Escrivá, during a visit to El Hierro, the archipelago’s smallest island, announced that the central government would ensure that the new arrivals would promptly be transferred to the Spanish mainland. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, for his part, has linked the recent surge in illegal arrivals to the political “destabilization in the Sahel region,” referring to the countries of Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Gabon, Mali, Niger, and Sudan, all of which are presently ruled by military governments.

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