More than 2,000 people died or disappeared trying to reach Spain in the first six months of 2021, an NGO report revealed.
Walking Borders organisation has found that 2,087 people, including 341 women and 96 children, had died or gone missing while trying to reach Spain by sea between January and the end of June this year.
The group said the figures were the worst it had recorded in the 14 years it has been tracking and helping to rescue people leaving Africa for Spain.
Helena Maleno, who leads the NGO, said the governments of Spain, Morocco, Mauritania and Algeria had to act now if a tragedy of ever more significant proportions were to be avoided.
“We are calling on all the relevant governments, and especially the Spanish government, to hold an urgent meeting of the relevant ministries because there’s an urgent need to defend life on the Canaries route,” said Maleno.
“That need must be addressed, and steps are taken so that we don’t have such shameful figures over the next six months.”
“Last year was the worst to date when it comes to figures. This year, we’ve very nearly reached the same figure in just six months, and I’m saying that loud and clear. We’re calling on the Spanish government to stop this now so that we don’t have to talk about a catastrophic year on the border.”
“These boats have a very high tragedy rate. Over the past six months, inflatable boats have accounted for 33% of all the alerts we received on the Atlantic route. That’s very high. Even the wooden boats are dangerous because their motors break and because the people who drive them don’t know the seas and don’t know how to navigate on the open sea.”
Thousands of migrants leave Libya yearly towards Europe. Many of them die on the journey.
War-torn Libya has been the dominant transit point for thousands of migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa, seeking a new hope in the European continent.
Many of the migrants also embark by sea from Tunisia amid European severe concerns over the growing numbers of asylum seekers.