On a migrant boat near the Canary Islands, the bodies of four deceased migrants were found. Nineteen others have been hospitalized, reports the Spanish Red Cross to press agency Reuters, 16 of whom are in a worrying condition.
The migrants were spotted by a fishing boat about 200 kilometres south of El Hierro, one of the smallest and most western islands of the archipelago. The Spanish Coast Guard then started a rescue operation, in which three helicopters were deployed.
Many migrants still venture the risky crossing from the African mainland to the Canary Islands. UN Refugee Organization UNHCR had fewer than 2700 migrants on the route in 2019. Last year, there were at least 22,000. Over 3500 migrants were involved in the first months of this year.
Hundreds of people died or went missing, according to the UNHCR. They regularly undertake the tour on the open sea in crowded, small, wooden boats with unreliable engines.
Among other things, because of the coronacrisis, migrants flee their birthplace. The pandemic has increased poverty and unemployment.