Canary Islands Shatter Annual Migrant Arrival Record with 32,000 Sea Crossings
A surge of nearly 1,000 migrants this weekend has propelled the Canary Islands to break their previous record, with over 32,000 migrants arriving in 2023.
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The Canary Islands have shattered their previous annual record for migrant arrivals by sea, as close to 1,000 migrants made their way to the archipelago's shores over the weekend. This influx brings the total number of migrants who have successfully navigated the perilous Atlantic route from the African continent to these Spanish islands situated off the northwestern coast of Africa to nearly 32,000 for the year. This staggering figure not only represents a doubling of last year's count but also surpasses the previous peak recorded in 2006, when 31,678 individuals undertook this arduous journey.
As of the end of September, data from the Interior Ministry indicated that just under 15,000 people had arrived in the Canary Islands throughout the entirety of 2023, mirroring figures from the previous year, 2022. However, a significant surge in arrivals, commencing in October, has seen an additional nearly 17,000 men, women, and children making their way to these islands.
The influx of migrants has placed an overwhelming burden on the services and infrastructure of the Canary Islands. Consequently, the Spanish government has initiated the transfer of many migrants to mainland Spain in an effort to alleviate the situation.
Notably, despite adverse weather conditions, the influx of arrivals has shown no signs of abating. Over the weekend, as weather warnings were issued for high waves and heavy rain, at least four individuals lost their lives upon arrival or following treatment in local hospitals.
It is crucial to underscore that the route to the Canary Islands remains one of the most perilous for migrants worldwide. In the first half of the year, even with fewer individuals attempting the sea crossing, the NGO Walking Borders estimated that a tragic total of 778 lives were lost.
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