Canary Islands: migrants housed in barracks and hotels

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First migrants in the Canary Islands hosted in barracks and hotels

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The Canary Islands are developing into the new refugee hotspot

Migrants die almost every day during the long journey across the Mediterranean. The Spanish Canary Islands, on the other hand, are only 100 kilometers from Africa. It sounds tempting to many refugees, but the path is even more dangerous.

Earlier this week, the reception center in Arguineguín, in the Canary Islands, was closed due to criticism of local conditions. Now the first newly arrived migrants have been moved to temporary housing.

No.After the liquidation of a refugee camp in Gran Canaria, the first newly arrived migrants were housed in military barracks and hotels. As Spanish rescue services announced on Tuesday, 68 people arrived in two boats on the beach of Maspalomas, in southern Gran Canaria. The migrants were initially taken to Arguineguín and can only stay in the military barracks for up to 72 hours.

In Arguineguín a controversial shelter was closed on Monday and the surrounding camp was dissolved.

The migrants residing there were taken to other facilities on Sunday evening, as confirmed on Monday by the Spanish government delegation to the Canary Islands. They were housed in makeshift military facilities and hotels in Gran Canaria and other islands, Spanish government delegate on the archipelago, Anselmo Pestana, said Monday.

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The now demolished migrant and refugee camp in Arguineguín it was because of the unsanitary and miserable conditions as a “field of shame” known. Human rights activists lamented the devastating circumstances; many migrants were only given a blanket to sleep on and there were no showers.

Potential asylum seekers did not have access to legal advice and some were housed there longer than the three days allowed by law.

More and more migrants are heading to the Canary Islands

The Canary Islands, which also include Gran Canaria and Tenerife, are located in the Atlantic off the west coast of North Africa. Offshore travel is considered the most dangerous migration route, but also the least controlled to Europe. The number of migrants and refugees translating from Africa to the Canary Islands has increased significantly this year.

In 2020, more than 20,000 migrants arrived in the Canary Islands via the dangerous sea route from Northwest Africa. In 2019, there were 1900 people in the same period. At least 500 people he died according to the International Organization for Migration while trying to cross from West Africa to the Canary Islands. Most recently, eight migrants were killed in a boating accident off the Spanish island of Lanzarote on Wednesday.

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An empty wooden boat in the Atlantic between Europe and Africa on November 14 off the coast of Gran Canaria.  Refugees and migrants try to reach the European Union from Africa

Migrants from Gran Canaria

Madrid’s central government is currently setting up temporary camps for up to 7,000 people and has launched a diplomatic offensive in several African countries to curb emigration. With few exceptions, the Spanish government is currently refusing to bring people to mainland Spain because it fears it will attract more migrants. There is growing sorrow in the islands, which are heavily dependent on tourism and therefore particularly affected by the crown pandemic.


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