Migrant tragedy unfolds

Authorities struggling to cope as two thirds are regularly set free

The occupants of a ‘patera’ being picked up off the coast of Almería

By Richard Torné

The number of migrants who have reached the coast of Almería this year has more than doubled compared to 2016, police figures show.

According to the National Police, a total of 5,346 migrants – including 259 minors – were rescued at sea compared to 2,145 in 2016.

The number of flimsy vessels, or ‘pateras’, carrying migrants and intercepted at sea has also risen from 113 in 2016 to 247 this year.

The figures show more migrants arrived in Almería in 2017 than in the whole of Spain two years ago, when 5,312 reached the country’s coasts. According to data issued by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, most came from Morocco, followed by Algeria and the Ivory Coast.

The rest of the country showed a similar picture. According to unofficial figures, some 18,560 migrants have reached Spain on makeshift boats this year, about 8,300 more than for the whole of 2016, although the Government has not yet issued the definitive count. It is also the biggest rise in more than 10 years.


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