About 12,000 migrants have made the dangerous crossing from the coast of Africa to the Canary Islands this year
The President of the Canary Islands has appealed to Spain and the European Union to help deal with the massive influx of migrants in recent weeks, leaving more than 2,000 people crowded into a makeshift camp on the dock.
« It’s easy to assess the problem: the influx of arrivals is greatly exceeding our ability to receive them, » said Angel Victor Torres, after nearly 2,200 migrants arrived in the Canary Islands by sea over the weekend.
Many new arrivals are being housed in a detention camp on the dock in Arguineguín, Gran Canaria, a facility designed as a temporary shelter for 420 people and currently has five times that number. The Canary Islands government said all migrant shelters in the archipelago are full
The president of the islands said that immediate assistance is required to dismantle the camp on the dockside, and both the Spanish and European authorities called for more solidarity.
“Europe is very clear that it wants to use us as prison islands, and it does not want to transfer these people to the continent or to mainland Spain,” said Mr. Torres, adding that the confined conditions were a “violation of international human rights”
Red Cross staff in Arguineguín said the situation is not sustainable, and that they are trying to deal with the additional problem of preventing migrants from promoting the transmission of the Covid-19 virus in the least affected area of Spain
As of Monday, the Red Cross said that 54 migrants from the camp had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, and were being held in an area separate from the rest, but there was not enough space to isolate others who came in close contact with the infected
Hundreds of people demonstrated in the streets of Arguineguín on Saturday in the presence of the camp, demanding an end to illegal immigration and more help for locals in economic hardship as a result of the Covid crisis
About 12,000 migrants have made the dangerous crossings from the coast of Africa to the Canary Islands this year, compared to fewer than 3,000 in the whole of 2019 and more than 400 are believed to have drowned in the attempt.
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Canary Islands, Spain, Gran Canaria
World News – Britain – Canary Islands asks for help after record 2,200 immigrants arrive in one weekend
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