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More than 1,600 migrants make journey to Canary Islands in small boats

Written by on 08/11/2020

More than 1,600 migrants were observed making the journey to Spain’s Canary Islands in small boats over the weekend.

The figure includes both those who made it to the islands and those who were rescued at sea, according to emergency services.

The body of one person was pulled from the water near the island of El Hierro, and a second person was airlifted to hospital with an unspecified health problem.

Last month at least 140 migrants died after they tried to make a 900-mile journey from Mbour in Senegal, to the Spanish islands.

The group lost their lives after their boat caught fire and capsized just after leaving.

In August, a boat with 10 migrants who had died was found near the islands.

And in November last year, a group of migrants who landed on the Canary Islands were helped by sunbathers at the popular tourist destination.

More from Canary Islands

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November 2019: Beachgoers assist newly-arrived migrants

The Atlantic route to the islands from west Africa is about 60 miles – from Morocco at the closest point.

The Canaries are a popular destination for migrants, especially since the European Union started providing funding to Morocco in 2019 to stop people crossing the Mediterranean to Spain.

So far in 2020, 11,000 people have reached the archipelago – but the Atlantic pathway has become one of the deadliest, with 600 confirmed dead and missing people, according to the UN.

The number of people arriving on the Canary Islands is the highest seen in over a decade, after Spain made deals with countries on the west African coast which cut the number of people crossing down to hundreds a year.

Before these measures were put in place, as many as 30,000 landed on the islands – like in 2006.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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