MADRID: The bodies of eight migrants, including three women and a child, washed up on the shores of southern Spain over the past two days, local authorities said on Tuesday.

“Between Sunday and Tuesday morning, eight bodies were found along the shore... who came from one or more boats,” the Almeria authorities said, indicating they were found along a 20-kilometre stretch of coastline. The Guardia Civil police were investigating, they added.

The boats had likely set off from Morocco or Algeria, a journey of at last 200 kilometres across the western Mediterranean, in the hope of reaching Europe.

So far this year, a total of 10,701 migrants have managed to reach the southern coast of mainland Spain or the Balearic Islands by sea, an increase of 1,680 on the same period last year, according to interior ministry figures up to Sept 14.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says at least 238 have died en route since the start of the year.

Separately, a total of 11,060 migrants have managed to reach Spain’s Atlantic Canary Islands from the coast of west Africa, more than double the 5,090 who arrived in the same period last year.

According to Caminando Fronteras, a Spanish NGO that monitors SOS calls from migrants at sea, more than 2,000 people have died or gone missing on the Atlantic route this year, which is known for being extremely dangerous.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2021

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