More than 1,600 African migrants have arrived in the Canary Islands this weekend. According to the emergency services, some of these have not been seen on the Spanish archipelago for over ten years.
Yesterday alone, more than a thousand migrants arrived on the islands of Gran Canaria, Tenerife, and El Hierro. They were on about twenty barely seaworthy boats, a spokeswoman for the Canary emergency services said.
A migrant had been found lifeless on El Hierro, she added. This morning more boats arrived with about six hundred people on board.
The archipelago is located about 100 kilometers off the coast of northwestern Africa. The route from Africa to the Canary Islands has been gaining popularity again for several years. An earlier peak was the year 2006 when more than 30,000 migrants reached the Spanish archipelago.
Since January of this year, more than 11,000 illegal migrants have found their way to the Canary Islands, according to data from the Spanish Ministry of the Interior. That is more than seven times as many as in the same period in 2019.
Last Friday, EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson called for more frequent repatriation of migrants who do not qualify for refugee status.