Nearly 32,000 migrants have reached Spain’s Canary Islands on fragile boats in West Africa this year, surpassing the previous record set in 2006, according to regional authorities.
The archipelago, located about 100 km off Africa’s west coast, has become the main destination for migrants fleeing conflict, poverty, or persecution in countries such as Senegal, Mali, and Morocco.
The number of arrivals has spiked in recent months, as milder weather and calmer seas have made the perilous Atlantic crossing more feasible. However, the journey remains extremely dangerous, with many boats capsizing or running out of fuel or food.
The influx of migrants has overwhelmed the islands’ infrastructure and resources, as well as sparked tensions among local residents. The Spanish government has been criticized for its slow and inadequate response to the humanitarian crisis and has faced pressure from the European Union to increase cooperation with African countries to curb irregular migration.