27.2 C
City of Banjul
Sunday, July 21, 2024
spot_img
spot_img

Gambians among 5,000 migrants reported dead on Canary Islands route in 2024

- Advertisement -
image 76

By Omar Bah

Gambian migrants are among an unprecedented nearly 5,000 migrants confirmed dead at sea in the first five months of 2024 trying to reach the Spanish Canary Islands, according to a report released by migration rights group Walking Borders on Wednesday.

According to the group, between 1 January and 31 May, some 4,808 people died on the Atlantic voyage to the Canaries after departing from Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal and Gambia, making it the deadliest route between Africa and Spain, with 95% of migrant deaths.

- Advertisement -

Arrivals to the archipelago in that period soared five times to over 16,500 from a year ago, Spain’s Interior Ministry data showed.

The Mediterranean route was the second deadliest, with 175 deaths on the crossing from Algeria to Spain’s southeastern shores. Another 71 people died on the Strait of Gibraltar and Alboran Sea that separate Spain from Morocco, bringing the total of victims on routes to Spain to 5,054 – an average of 33 per day.

“We cannot normalise these figures. We must demand that the various countries put the protocols of duty of care at sea and the defence of the right to life above migration control measures,” said the NGO’s coordinator, Helena Maleno.

- Advertisement -

The victims came from 17 different countries, mostly from the African mainland but also the Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean, as well as Pakistan. They included 154 women and 50 children, the report said.

The head of the Red Cross in the Canary Islands, Jose Antonio Rodriguez Verona, said the Atlantic route was the most dangerous as the ocean’s rough weather conditions could easily cause the precarious vessels used by most migrants to capsize.

Last year, a record 39,910 migrants reached the Canary Islands and over 6,000 people died while attempting the perilous crossing. Rights groups expect that figure to be surpassed this year.

Join The Conversation
- Advertisment -spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img