Menu

Canary Islands See Huge Influx in Refugees

Latest boat of migrants discovered in the area carried 80 people.

TENERIFE, Canary Islands—A boat carrying about 80 migrants arrived at the Canary Islands as authorities struggle to keep up with a flood of refugees in the area.

Maritime rescue teams and the Spanish Civil Guard rescued those aboard, which included three seriously ill people, and brought them to the port of Los Cristianos on Tenerife on Nov. 4. Doctors from the Canary Islands Emergency Service (SUC) offered medical assistance to the migrants, who are believed to be of sub-Saharan origin.

One person on the vessel was already dead at the time of discovery. It was not immediately clear if any women or children were on board.

Migrants at the port. (Newsflash)

Migration numbers in the Canary Islands are on the rise and have already exceeded last year’s totals, according to the local government. Nearly 11,500 migrants have arrived in the islands so far this year, a massive increase from the roughly 1,500 who sought refuge in 2019. The Canary Islands also recorded the arrival of 411 vessels containing migrants by Oct. 31, compared to just 92 during the same period last year.

The islands, which are part of Spain, have been a magnet for migrants from Africa for decades, a recent report found. The inflow has been driven by those seeking higher wages, as well as those fleeing persecution because of race, religion, nationality, gender or sexual orientation, or political persuasion.

Meanwhile, Spain as a whole has seen a small increase in migration this year, with 27,551 migrants arriving in the country during the first 10 months of 2020, versus 27,243 during that time in 2019, according to the Ministry of the Interior.

Nearly 11,500 migrants have arrived in the islands so far this year, a massive increase from the roughly 1,500 who sought refuge in 2019. (Newsflash)

Some migrants seeking refuge in Spain enter the country by land or sea in irregular or illegal manners. Spanish authorities discovered five illegal immigrants hiding in a pile of clothes on a small boat Melilla, an autonomous Spanish city on the northwest coast of Africa in October.

(Edited by Carlin Becker and Matthew Hall)