Dying to reach Europe
More than 250 immigrants traveling in 6 small boats have landed in Grand Canaries and Andalucia in the past 24 hours. Out of a total 1000 refugees presently in Grand Canaries, 198 were flown to the Spanish mainland. According to El Pais the numbers of Africans reaching Spain in the past year has gone up by 200%. Spanish TV news reported that there are presently some 10,000 people waiting in Mauritania to make the crossing to Grand Canaries.
45 people men died in two crossing incidents last week off the coast of Mauritania. Many of the bodies were washed up on the beach whilst others were picked out of the sea by local fisherman. Because of the increased security in Morocco and the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, Mauritania and the southern part Western Sahara have become the new departure points for mainly West Africans to reach Spain.
The boats used to be rubber dingy types that were actually bought in Spain and taken to Morocco by the smugglers. Now the smugglers build poorly constructed disposable boats out of wood which are left on the beach along with the human cargo – if they make it.
The possibility of being sent back or even worse, death is no deterrent. I personally know of one young man who has traveled backwards and forwards between Morocco, Greece, Cyprus, Germany and back again. I am not sure where he is now, but every once in a while I get a text telling me which country he is now in. He is suprisingly optimistic and if lucky he gets to work for a few weeks here and there. Wondering Europe in seach of a better life but so far never quite making it.