Thousands of migrants have been arriving in the Canary Islands off the coast of West Africa this year, and authorities say the surge will likely increase.
Over 3,000 migrants reached the Spanish islands by July 19, according to the UNHCR.
Spanish rescue patrols were deployed to search for nearly 200 migrants who had set out to make the crossing aboard five vessels earlier this week.
“A Maritime Rescue plane is tracking the waters to the east and south of the Canary Islands on Monday in search of five boats with about 190 people on board who have allegedly left the Canary Islands in recent days from Tarfaya and Tan-Tan, in Morocco, and Dakhla, in Western Sahara,” Diario de Avisos reported on Monday.
An inflatable boat with approximately 60 migrants onboard reportedly launched on Wednesday, prompting another search-and-rescue effort.
“Between Tuesday and Wednesday, three boats carrying 91 migrants, including 15 children, arrived in the Canary Islands,” InfoMigrants reports, citing local media.
Anselmo Pestana, a Canary Islands government official, says authorities anticipate a “significant upturn" in illegal migrant arrivals, according to Efe.
The government is reportedly planning to redistribute many of the migrants to reception centers across the islands.
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