Spain migrant deaths soar on sea route

A staggering number of migrants attempting to reach Spain by sea have perished in the first half of 2024, according to a report by Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras.

The organization, which tracks migrant journeys and alerts authorities to vessels in distress, documented over 5,000 deaths between January and May – an average of 33 per day.

This figure dwarfs the entire 2023 migrant death toll for Spain, which stood at 6,618.

The Canary Islands route, the Atlantic crossing from Africa, claimed the vast majority of lives – an estimated 4,800.

Caminando Fronteras attributes this surge to strong currents and the use of overloaded, unsafe boats by migrants.

Increased border security in the Mediterranean is believed to have pushed migration towards this riskier route.

“These figures are alarmingly high,” said the NGO, calling for an immediate response.

“We cannot normalize these deaths. Saving lives at the border must be the priority.”

The report aligns with a broader trend of rising migrant arrivals in Spain.

Interior Ministry data shows that over 20,000 migrants reached Spanish shores by sea in the first five months of 2024, compared to just under 9,000 in the same period last year.

This significant increase underscores Spain’s role as a major entry point for migrants seeking a better life in Europe.

While the Canary Islands lie relatively close to North Africa at their nearest point, some journeys originate from much further south, like Gambia and Senegal – a distance exceeding 1,000 miles.

The perilous nature of these voyages, coupled with inadequate resources, is contributing to the tragic loss of life.

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