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Migration from Senegal surges as greater than 32,000 individuals have landed in Spain’s Canary Islands

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BARCELONA, Spain — Spain’s Canary Islands have set a brand new report for the variety of irregular arrivals to the archipelago, with greater than 32,000 migrants making the treacherous boat journey on the Atlantic Ocean to the European Union territory this 12 months. Most migrants are leaving from Senegal.

The islands, positioned close to the African continent, have been used for many years as a stepping stone to Europe. Although nearly all of arrivals are from Senegal, there are additionally boats departing from Gambia, Mauritania, Morocco and the Western Sahara.

In line with an Related Press tally of figures launched by Spain’s Inside Ministry and native emergency providers, at the very least 32,029 individuals landed there from Jan. 1 to Nov. 5 — exceeding the infamous migration disaster of 2006, when 31,678 migrants disembarked within the Canaries.

Smugglers in Senegal pack younger individuals in search of higher alternatives in Europe into {old} artisanal fishing boats. The journey from Senegal to the Canaries normally takes per week of adverse upwind crusing for round 1,600 km (1,000 miles).

Migrant boats incessantly shipwreck or disappear within the Atlantic.

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To keep away from border controls alongside the coast, smugglers take longer journeys, navigating first west into the open Atlantic earlier than persevering with north to the Canaries — a detour that introduced many to the tiny westernmost El Hierro island, at instances overwhelming native authorities and emergency providers.

As soon as a beacon of democratic stability within the area, Senegal has been engulfed in socio-political unrest with violent clashes earlier this 12 months. President Macky Sall’s embattled authorities has dissolved Ousame Sonko’s opposition occasion, widespread amongst younger voters. The political disaster together with an absence of jobs, rising meals costs and depleting fishing shares have precipitated 1000’s to depart the nation.

Confronted with a report variety of arrivals, Spain’s Inside Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska flew to the Senegalese capital of Dakar final week to press the federal government to do extra to cease boats from leaving.

Grande-Marlaska urged his Senegalese counterpart Sidiki Kaba to “act extra shortly,” and keep away from extra deaths. No less than 512 individuals have died on that route to this point this 12 months in keeping with the Worldwide Group for Migration, although the determine is believed to be an unlimited undercount.

Spain has almost 40 police and civil guard officers, 4 boats, a helicopter and an plane deployed in Senegal to watch the coast and crack down on smuggling networks in collaboration with native authorities. Madrid says the joint effort has efficiently stopped 7,132 individuals from leaving Senegal this 12 months.

Throughout the 2006 “cayucos disaster” — named after the massive canoe-shaped boats from Mauritania and Senegal typically utilized by the smugglers — Spain signed agreements with 10 African nations to just accept returned migrants and cease new boats from leaving.

Within the following years, arrivals to the Canary Islands declined and had been largely manageable till they spiked once more in 2020 because of elevated surveillance alongside the favored Mediterranean Sea route, amongst different elements.


Observe AP’s protection of world migration at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

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