Migrant crisis: Spain arrivals triple11/08/17Government
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has revealed that three times as many migrants have arrived in Spain so far this year compared to the same period in 2016.
The figures mean the number of sea arrivals in Spain – at 8,385 – could overtake Greece, which has had 11,713 people.
The shift may be because migrants are finding the Spanish route safer.
The IOM say 11,849 people have arrived in Spain so far this year, compared with 13,246 in all of last year.
Joel Millman, a senior IOM spokesman, said: “We assume that some of the change is due to the fact that the route [to Spain] is considered a safe route up to the coast through Morocco.
“It’s possible that Spain will outperform Greece this year.
“If so, that’s a big change.”
Many of those opting for the longer route to Europe are from west African countries including Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea and Ivory Coast.
Spain is still behind Italy, which received 96,861 until 9 August, according to the IOM.
Overall numbers have reduced by almost 60% from the same period the previous year.
On 10 August, coastguards in southern Spain said ten men from sub-Saharan Africa were rescued off Tarifa.
The coastguard said they were on an unsafe boat off the southern town of Tarifa, in Cádiz province, where a boat full of migrants landed at a popular tourist beach on 9 August.
According to AFP news agency, nine of the 30 or so migrants who arrived on the beach had been found.
They are all minors in their teens and, while they did not have any ID on them, are thought to be from Morocco, police were quoted as saying.
They will be taken to migrant reception centres, where they can apply for asylum in Spain, AFP added.
The charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) says Spain’s reception centres are already overloaded and could not respond to the needs of the thousands of ‘desperate new arrivals’.