Spain could overtake Greece in migrant sea arrivals

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13 August, 2017

Ceuta and Melilla are today the main entry points to Spain for illegal migrants, 90% of whom are men, mainly from sub-Sahara.

While the number of arrivals is much lower than Italy - which has seen more than 96,400 migrants arrive by sea this year - Spain is catching up with Greece, which has had 11,713 migrants arrive so far.

While migrants often camp in crowded tent ghettos upon arrival, a great many disperse throughout Western Europe over a period of time.

"It's possible that Spain will outperform Greece this year", he added.

Over 100,000 migrants reached Europe from North Africa and the Middle East from January to June, the overwhelming majority coming by sea, according to the IOM.

'If so, that's a big change'.

He also said they were using smaller crafts to cross the short but choppy sea to Spain in the hope of slipping in undetected.

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The survivors were left to bury the dead in shallow graves. Courtesy Metro UK

In the early hours of Monday morning, almost 200 sub-Saharan Africans managed to reach Spanish soil after storming a border crossing between Morocco and Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta opposite Gibraltar.

Both cities are the EU's only land borders with Africa.

Migrants regularly try to climb the high double border fences, swim along the coast or hide in vehicles crossing the frontier. It seems like it is safer to go through Morocco to Spain than through Libya.

Inigo Vila, in charge of emergencies for the Red Cross in Spain, said the organisation had reinforced the number of people working on the coast in southern Andalusia and in Ceuta to help migrants when they make landfall.

At about 5am on Monday, 186 migrants stormed the border and reached European Union soil.

Spain and Morocco agreed yesterday to close the Tarajal post to freight traffic for a week because of recent migrant crossing attempts.

Once there, they celebrated, raising their hands in joy as they ran through the streets - with one man kneeling on the floor.

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