In the Canary Islands, the archipelago off the coast of West Africa that belongs to Spain, 1,275 migrants arrived on 42 open wooden boats last weekend. The port authorities report this. In Cyprus, a migrant boat arrived from Turkey for the fifth day in a row.
Since January, the number of migrants reaching the archipelago by sea has risen to 17,000. That is about six times as many as in the year before. Most migrants, who have left their African homeland due to poverty and violence, arrive for registration at the pier of the port city of Arguineguín, in the southwest of Gran Canaria. After registration, many are housed in hotels, which are vacant due to the corona crisis.
This weekend, for the fifth day in a row, a migrant boat was intercepted off Cyprus’s coast and collided with Turkey. There were 21 people on board. Small groups of migrants from Turkey, Syria, or Lebanon arrive in Cyprus almost daily.
Nicosia’s government has often asked the European Union for help because the reception centers for asylum seekers are overcrowded.
Last year, nearly 10,000 migrants arrived on the island of 1.2 million inhabitants, according to Cypriot police.