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5 people die trying to reach Spain every day, report says

A charity has revealed that nearly 1,000 migrants from 14 different countries including Morocco, Syria and Sudan, died en route to Spain in the first half of 2023

July 13, 2023 at 9:07 pm

An average of 5 people, per day, has died attempting to reach Spain during the first six months of this year, according to the findings of a new report.

According to a report released by Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders) a week ago, at least 951 people – including 49 children – have died while trying to reach Spain by sea in the first six months of 2023, with those lost at sea hailing from 14 countries such as Syria and others located in north, west, central and east Africa.

The group, which compiled its findings from official sources, refugee testimonies and rescue organisations operating on the ground, reported that 19 boats went missing with all their passengers on board between January and June this year. Although fewer boats arrived in the first six months compared to the same period last year, the report said, 13 more people died in this year’s same period.

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The report outlined four different routes taken by the refugees and migrants, consisting of those through the Canary Islands, the Alboran Sea, Algeria and the Strait of Gibraltar. The Canary Islands route had the highest number of recorded deaths, with up to 778 people losing their lives in 28 incidents, while the Alboran route saw 21 victims in two incidents.

“As for the Algerian route, eight tragedies are known to have occurred, resulting in 102 victims. Finally, on the Strait of Gibraltar, 11 tragedies left 50 people dead”, Caminando Fronteras stated.

The organisation accused Spain and Morocco of failing to properly coordinate with each other and to conduct search-and-rescue operations in time. Other factors that it listed include their inadequacy of resources and the abundance of poor practices during rescue operations. Madrid and Rabat were more concerned with “politics” than with rescuing those stranded at sea, the report lamented.