Number of migrants reaching Spain not seen since 2008

Spanish maritime units with migrants rescued at sea off coast of Almeria. Photo: Carlos Barba / EFE via El País

• Rescues of migrants at sea have already topped total rescues for 2016
• Recovering Spanish economy, good weather conditions said to spur increase

The recent surge in the number of migrants reaching Spanish shores by boat has brought the total number of illegal migrants arriving from North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa countries to 2008 levels, driven largely by greater chance of employment linked to a recovering Spanish economy and good weather conditions on the Mediterranean this summer.

The Spanish Red Cross estimates that a total of 11,043 migrants have been rescued at sea by Spanish maritime rescue ships and non-governmental organizations so far this year, already surpassing the total 10,389 rescued during all of 2016.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) puts the total number of undocumented immigrants and refugees arriving to Spain across the Mediterranean Sea or across the borders of Ceuta and Melilla at roughtly 13,000, representing a considerable increase over last year. According to IOM board member María Jesús Herrera, 10,276 people had reached Spanish territory by land or by sea as of 6th September, compared to 8,162 for the whole of 2016.

Meanwhile, the European Frontier and Coast Guard (Frontex) has said arrivals of immigrants across land and sea to Spain have increased to 14,000 so far this year, which it says represents more than 2.5 times as many migrant arrivals as during 2016.

► Read More in Spanish at El País and El Periódico …

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