July 15. 2024. 7:50

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Thirty-three migrants died at sea each day trying to reach Spain this year – NGO


Between January and May this year, a total of 5,504 migrants – almost 33 deaths a day, or one migrant every 45 minutes – died trying to reach Spain by making the treacherous sea crossing, a report by a Spanish NGO revealed on Wednesday.

Citing UN and EU data, the NGO’s report, “Monitoring the Right to Life on the Western Euro-African Border”, points out that most migrant deaths occur on the world’s most dangerous route between the west coast of Africa and the Canary Islands, where 4,808 deaths were recorded in the same period.

In comparison, 175 deaths were recorded on the Algerian route (from Algeria to the Balearic Islands and the east coast of Spain), 47 in the Alboran Sea and 24 in the Strait of Gibraltar, warned Spanish NGO Walking Borders, Euractiv’s partner EFE reported.

With these figures adding up to a total of 5,504 migrant deaths at sea across all migration routes, this would mean that 2024 could be on course to overtake the number of deaths in 2023 when 6,007 migrant deaths at sea were recorded for the whole of 2023

Another sign of the danger of the Canary Route is the large number of precarious boats that disappear in the Atlantic Ocean after leaving the coast of Mauritania, the NGO warns.

One such humanitarian tragedy was reported in the Spanish press on 15 April, when rescue services found one of these boats on the northern coast of Brazil with nine bodies on board.

According to the NGO, most of the people who have died in the Atlantic this year have been on 3,600 boats that set off from Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, Nouadhibou, the second largest city, or other points along the Mauritanian coast.

A further 959 died in boatwrecks from Senegal or Gambia, and 249 more in ‘pateras’ that set off from the Sahara and Morocco along the almost 1,000-kilometre stretch of coast between Guelmim and Dakhla.

“In previous years, a reduction in boat departures could be observed (in winter), but in these (winter) months, it has been maintained even in the worst weather conditions,” the NGO said in its report.

In some cases, however, the deployment of rescue resources is delayed, or EU member state coordination fails because authorities prioritise “migration control” over saving lives, the report adds.

(Fernando Heller | EuroEFE.Euractiv.es)

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