Over 1000 illegal migrants reached the Canary Islands in 2020

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spain´s maritime rescue service said Wednesday that it rescued 24 migrants near the Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa but was still looking for 53 people in two migrant boats that have been reported missing in the area for at least two days.

A maritime rescue service plane was deployed early Wednesday to search for the boats in waters between the Spanish island of Gran Canaria and Dakhla on the Western Sahara coast, authorities said, but bad weather was complicating the search.

Among the 24 migrants rescued late Tuesday, there were nine women and one baby, the Canary Islands’ emergency service said on its Twitter account. They were brought to a port on Gran Canaria island, one of seven in the Canary Islands archipelago.

Spanish authorities had originally begun searching for some 140 missing people aboard five migrant boats after they received several alerts Monday afternoon. Following rescues carried out by both Morocco and Spain, the service said Wednesday it had narrowed the search down to two boats carrying 26 and 27 people, respectively.

The deadly Atlantic route from northwest Africa to the Canary Islands has become increasingly popular among migrants desperate to reach European soil following an increase in migrant controls in western Mediterranean routes between Morocco and mainland Spain further north.

More than 1,000 migrants reached the Canary Islands from Jan. 1 to Feb. 15, compared to 66 in the same period last year, according to Spain’s Interior Ministry. At least 210 people perished on that route in 2019, the International Organization for Migration said

© 2020 AP

The post Over 1000 illegal migrants reached the Canary Islands in 2020 appeared first on Voice of Europe.

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