No fewer than 951 people, including 49 children from 14 countries have died while trying to reach Spain by sea in the first six months of 2023, a Spanish migrant rights group said Thursday.
The countries are Algeria, Cameroon, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Morocco, The Gambia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria and The Gambia.
The organization was said to have compiled its figures from families of migrants and rescue statistics.
AlJazeera reports that on average, five people lost their lives every day in the first half of this year along four different routes: the Canary Islands route, the Alboran Sea route, the Algerian route and the Strait of Gibraltar route.
The group, which compiled its findings from official sources, refugee communities and rescue organisations on the ground, said 19 boats went missing with all the people on board between January and June.
The access route to Spain via the Canary Islands accounted for the highest number of recorded deaths, with up to 778 people losing their lives in 28 incidents.
“Meanwhile, on the Alboran route, the two tragedies recorded in this period bring the number of victims to 21. As for the Algerian route, eight tragedies are known to have occurred, resulting in 102 victims. Finally, on the Strait of Gibraltar, 11 tragedies left 50 people dead,” the report said.
According to the report issued Thursday, the official Spanish figures show fewer boats arrived in the first six months, but that 13 more people died than in the first six months of last year.
Spain’s Interior Ministry says 12,192 people arrived by boat in the first six months, 4% fewer than in the same period last year.
Caminando Fronteras blamed countries such as Spain and Morocco for a lack of coordination and failing to conduct rescue operations in time.
It gave the example of a June 21 incident in which 24 people were rescued and two bodies were retrieved after a boat sank in waters off Morocco’s coast, but 36 migrants disappeared. It said a Moroccan rescue ship did not arrive until 10 hours after the first warnings were sent out about the boat.
Since 2018 more than 11,200 had died or were missing after having tried to reach Spain – an average of six a day – Caminando Fronteras, a non-governmental human rights organisation that seeks to protect migrants’ rights, said in a report published at the end of 2022.