Tuesday, July 16, 2024

On the coast of Mauritania, 89 people died trying to reach Europe


Nearly 90 migrants died when their boat capsized in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Mauritania on Monday, July 1, the Mauritanian Information Agency and a senior Mauritanian official said Thursday. Dozens more are missing, they said. The victims were on their way to Europe.

“Mauritanian Coast Guard Finds Bodies of 89 after Large Traditional Fishing Boat Capsizes” 4 kilometers from the city of Antiago in southwestern Mauritania, the official Mauritanian news agency reported. The Coast Guard rescued 9 people, including a 5-year-old girl.

The agency cited survivors’ testimony that said the boat left the Senegal-Gambia border with 170 passengers on board, raising the number of missing to 72. Therefore, the boat would have been heading north along the coast of Senegal and would have been in Mauritanian waters when it sank. A senior local administration official provided similar information to Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity.

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The Canaries, Gateway to Europe

It’s the latest tragedy on the Atlantic migration route, with the first destination being the Canaries, a Spanish archipelago and gateway to Europe. Thousands of Africans fleeing poverty, unemployment or a lack of opportunities travel this dangerous route clandestinely for money in canoes or dangerous boats that can carry dozens of passengers.

Several days of navigation are required to cover the hundreds of kilometers to the canaries in appalling conditions with survivors at the mercy of hunger and thirst, the sun, the elements and damage. Other routes from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe are overland and through desert towards the Mediterranean coast. According to the Spanish government, the number of migrants landing in the Canaries in 2023 has doubled in one year to reach a record 39,910.

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More than 5,000 migrants died trying to reach Spanish shores in the first five months of 2024, most of them on the Canary Islands route, according to Spanish NGO Cominando Fronteras. Tragedies follow one another. 26 migrants from Guinea died on the coast of Senegal in May. At least 26 migrants met a similar fate off the coast of Senegal in February. Statistics are generally too low to reflect the scale of these events. It is difficult to establish the number of passengers who depart and the number of those who go missing in case of misfortune at sea.

The Senegalese navy has stepped up interception of boats and aid to migrants in distress. He said this week that he had intercepted a canoe with 74 migrants, including 20 children. In June, its patrol officers intercepted more than 470 people during four operations, according to information posted on social networks.

Action for Human Rights and Friendship and two other Senegal-based NGOs wrote in a statement that most of the victims of the recent shipwreck were from Senegal and that they were deeply traumatized. “The Tenth Play [qui] highlights the conditions of desperation that drive many young people to risk their lives on dangerous crossroads”. They believe that the bodies working with the European Union have not yielded the expected results. They have been calling for new officers since April “Most Effective Youth Policy”As well as “Improving the living conditions of the Senegalese people and promoting safe and legal migration routes”.

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The world with AFP

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Agapito Llano
Agapito Llano

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