SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE – The reception capacity for migrants in the Canary Islands is beginning to be “exhausted” after days of “maximum pressure,” warns Alfonso Cabello, spokesperson for the Canary Islands government.
The islands experienced an unprecedented influx of migrants on Saturday. According to sources from the 112 Canarias and Salvamento Marítimo, more than 1,000 migrants have arrived, spread across seven vulnerable vessels. One of these had 320 people on board and reached the island of El Hierro. It was a historical record.
This urgent situation has led Fernando Clavijo, the President of the Canary Islands government, to send a letter to Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. He calls for the activation of the European Civil Protection Mechanism to release additional funds and resources.
Increased arrivals and overload
On Monday morning, five boats carrying 570 migrants arrived on the islands. This includes 46 minors. Of this group, 327 people arrived at El Hierro and 243 at Tenerife.
Lack of coordination
Cabello criticises the Spanish central government, arguing that it is not giving the situation the priority it requires. He highlights the lack of coordination between the ministries, especially after statements by the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, who claimed that the available resources are sufficient.
Increasing number of unaccompanied minors
The number of unaccompanied migrant children now exceeds 4,000, a disturbing increase from the 3,800 reported last week. “The situation continues to deteriorate, and concerns are increasing,” Cabello said.
Cabello emphasises that the Canary Islands need a stable and ongoing solution. He points to the failure of the current system, with the example being that despite the agreement to move 347 minors to mainland Spain, 400 new ones arrived within four days.
When asked about possible measures to limit the inflow, Cabello refers to agreements with third countries and the deployment of Frontex and other maritime surveillance mechanisms. The aim is to prevent the exodus of migrants and ensure their safe return before they risk their lives at sea.