- According to emergency services, more than 500 migrants have arrived at the Spanish Canary Islands in a span of 24 hours.
- On Tuesday, the islands received its largest number of migrants in a single boat since 1994 with 280 passengers.
- 2023 has seen a 20% increase in migrants compared to last year, according to Spain’s Interior Ministry.
Emergency services on the Spanish Canary Islands said Wednesday that more than 500 migrants reached there in four large wooden boats in a span of 24 hours earlier this week.
One of the boats arriving on Tuesday was carrying 280 migrants, the islands’ emergency service said on X, formerly known as Twitter. The state news agency EFE says it was the largest number in a single boat since human traffickers began to regularly use the Canary Island route in 1994.
Spanish Red Cross coordinator José Antonio Rodríguez Verona told The Associated Press he had not seen so many people in one boat since 2008, when 234 arrived in a single vessel.
Only five of the migrants needed medical treatment on arrival at the small port of La Restinga on the southern tip of Hierro Island.
Hundreds of other migrants were intercepted trying to reach other islands in the archipelago, located off the northwest coast of Africa, and elsewhere on mainland Spain in recent days.
Spain’s Interior Ministry says nearly 15,000 migrants reached the Canary Islands by boat from Jan 1 to Sept 30, 2023. That’s a 20% increase from same period last year. Most departed from Senegal.