Migrant crisis: Spain rescues 600 Moroccan migrants in 24 hours
As migrants continue to pour into Europe from North Africa and Syria, the Spanish Coast Guard claims to have rescued 600 migrants from Morocco within 24 hours! The migrants were reportedly traveling in 15 vessels which included a jet ski and toy paddle boats. The numbers point to the gravity of the migrant crisis and its consequences. Read all about it here!
Spain: Emerging as a major migrant entry point
Along with Greece and Italy, an increasing number of migrants are pouring into Spain. In addition to those entering via land routes in North Africa, migrants also travel through land to Morocco, which at its closest distance is merely 8 nautical miles from Spanish mainland. Originating from West African countries including Senegal, and Mali, these migrant utilize dangerous means such as inflatable boats.
What drives the migration?
Migrant influx into Italy is largely attributed to political instability in and around Libya, following the NATO-backed ouster of its leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Recent unrest in Morocco's Rif region has further triggered an influx into Spain. Most of these migrants seek political asylum.
What do the numbers tell us?
Around 8000 migrants reached Spain in 2016, amounting up to 2% of 'irregular arrivals' into the EU. According to UN estimates, about 9000 migrants have so far landed up in Spain this year, with 120 dying in transit. International Organization for Migration (IOM) data further reveals that 6,464 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean to reach Spain's southern coast since the beginning of 2017.
What happens to them once they arrive in Spain?
Migrants who cross over to the Spanish side are given medical attention and are put up in short term accommodation arrangements. The migrants then wait for several months, until the authorities arrive at a decision on whether they can stay or not.
Europe's social and economic fabric is under considerable strain from huge refugee influx from Africa and Syria. While Spain so far has not instituted stricter restrictions, it may be forced to follow Italy's footsteps and tighten entry stipulations, if the inflow continues at current rates. Addressing the crisis for improving the humanitarian situation in West and North Africa requires joint efforts from EU nations.