World Bulletin / News Desk
The number of migrants arriving on Spain's southern coast has more than doubled in 2017 from last year as they avoid passing through conflict-wracked Libya on their way to Europe.
"We are worried because we are seeing numbers which we have not seen in years. And it's a dangerous area, where the currents are very strong," said the spokesman for the Spanish branch of rights group SOS Racisme, Mikel Araguas.
Last week, an inflatable dinghy that had apparently set out from Morocco with 52 people aboard was flipped over after being hit by a strong wave. Only three survivors were rescued by the Spanish coastguard.
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) called it "the worst tragedy in the last decade in the Spanish Mediterranean" involving migrants.
The Italian sea route remains the most popular for migrants. Italy has accepted around 85,000 of the 100,000 people who have arrived in Europe by sea this year according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
But the Spanish route further west is gathering pace. Between January and June, more than 6,400 people were rescued at sea between Morocco and Algeria and Spain, according to the IOM, compared to 8,100 during all of 2016.
The figure is close to the more than 9,000 migrants who arrived in Greece during the period.Last Mod: 09 Temmuz 2017, 11:12