In January, the number of individuals from West Africa who took the risk of crossing the sea in boats to reach Spain’s Canary Islands increased by over 1,000% compared to the previous year. This information was revealed by the interior ministry of Spain.
The ministry reported that the number of individuals who arrived at the archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean from January 1st to January 31st was 7,270, which is a 13-fold rise from the 566 people who arrived in the same month in 2023.
Last year, the group of islands located off the north-west coast of Africa, a highly sought-after vacation spot in Spain, served as the arrival point for 39,910 individuals, setting a new record.
In 2023, the island of El Hierro, which is the smallest and furthest west, had a higher number of migrants than its own population of 9,000.
According to an annual report by the rights group Walking Borders, the Atlantic route to the Canary Islands is the deadliest migration route to Spain, with 6,007 people dying during the risky sea voyage last year.
In January, the number of individuals who entered Spain through unauthorized methods, including land and sea, was 8,067. This shows a 524% rise compared to the previous year, according to the ministry’s statement.