Published: Sat, August 12, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Spain on course to surpass Greece as European Union migration destination

Spain on course to surpass Greece as European Union migration destination

"We assume that some of the change is due to the fact that the route [to Spain] is considered a safe route up to the coast through Morocco", said Joel Millman, a senior IOM spokesman.

Spain has to prepare for an increased influx of migrants and refugees as it now does not have the necessary infrastructure, Rosa Otero, a deputy spokeswoman for UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Spain, told Sputnik.

Spain may overtake Greece this year in numbers of migrants arriving clandestinely by sea, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says. Greece has had 11,713 people.

Video footage has emerged shocking African migrants being transported into the Spanish territory in North Africa on the back of jet skis.

One possibility is that the Mediterranean Sea crossing from Libya to Italy is seen as more risky, both because of Libya's instability and stepped-up patrols, at the European Union's urging, by the Libyan coast, according to Millman.

"People are talking about going to Spain".

Since the beginning of 2015, more than 1 million migrants have come to Greece and more than 430,000 have come to Italy, but only 29,000 have gone to Spain, according to IOM.

A new clip from The Guardian, shows beachgoers in Southern Spain watching as a boat carrying African migrants reaches shore.

Before waves of refugees and migrants started pouring into Europe via the Mediterranean two years ago, simple wooden boats arrived in Spain regularly starting in the early 1990s. The number of sailings peaked in 2006 after Spain made loan and investment deals with several countries.

Spain's maritime rescue service, which includes ships, planes and helicopters, rescues migrants at sea and takes them to cities such as Almeria, Malaga, Tarifa, with the Spanish Red Cross on hand to offer aid from healthcare to food and water.

That is more than triple the number recorded at the same time past year, according to Joel Millman, a senior IOM spokesman, and already more than the total arrivals in 2016.

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