İrem UZUN -TDO- Spain's Canary Islands saw the largest number of migrant arrivals since 2006 in the past 48 hours, the Red Cross said on Saturday. Between Thursday and Saturday, 1,015 people landed in 485 boats in the seven Spanish islands, a Red Cross spokesman said. They reportedly traveled across the Atlantic in small fishing boats and were met by sea rescue vessels close to the islands.
Local politicians have asked the Spanish government for more help, saying the Canary Islands do not have enough resources. On a visit to the islands, Spain's Migration Minister José Luis Escrivá promised a comprehensive response to the arrivals. This route from West Africa has grown in popularity since 2018. The passengers were reported to have been from Senegal and Gambia. Many are being looked after by the Spanish Red Cross in camps near where they disembarked. A Red Cross spokesman told AFP that barring a few mild cases of hypothermia, all were in good health and had been tested for coronavirus.
Between January and the beginning of October this year, more than 6,000 migrants made their way to the islands – compared to 1,000 in the same period in 2019. The influx is believed to the result of agreements with Turkey, Morocco and Libya which has tightened control over the Mediterranean route to Europe’s shores.