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No fewer than 1,200 migrants arrive in Canary Islands over the weekend

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No fewer than 1,200 migrants arrive in Canary Islands over the weekend

The Spanish Canary Islands saw 1,275 migrants arrive from Africa on 42 wooden boats during the weekend, sea rescue authorities told dpa on Monday.

The number of migrants taking boat journeys from North and West Africa to the the Atlantic Ocean archipelago has risen sharply this year. Since January, about 17,000 have reached the islands.

The boats, most of which are powered by an outboard motor, start mainly in Morocco and Mauritania, but also in the West African nation of Senegal, some 1,500 kilometres farther south.

Droughts, the coronavirus pandemic, poverty, unemployment and violence induce people to make the perilous trips across the sea in the hope of a better life in Europe.

Most migrants are brought to the port city of Arguineguin, on Gran Canaria Island, for registration and coronavirus testing. At times, more than 2,000 people crowd the pier.

Some of the immigrants have to stay at the makeshift tent camp for weeks.

A judge responsible for them, Arcadio Diaz Tejera, recently lamented that people are packed together like cattle on the pier.

From the pier, people are distributed to emergency shelters and vacant tourist facilities, a practice increasingly coming under criticism from the tourism sector.

Earlier, the central government announced that it would close the camp on the pier and open an accommodation centre for the arrivals, but the new site is yet to start operations.

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