Over 1,600 migrants arrived this weekend in the Canary Islands from the African continent, marking the largest influx in more than a decade, local emergency services said.
On Saturday alone, over 1,000 arrived on a score of flimsy boats on the islands of Grand Canary, Teneriffe and El Hierro, according to a spokeswoman of the Canary Islands emergency services, who said a body was also found on El Hierro.
On Sunday morning, other boats were rescued with about 600 persons on board.
The Spanish archipelago, located off the coast of Northwest Africa, has seen a massive influx of clandestine migrants this year, with over 11,000 people landing on its shores since the beginning of the year, seven times more than in the corresponding period of 2019, according to the Interior Ministry.
In recent months, African migrants have switching once again to the Canary route rather than the Mediterranean, following border control agreements between European countries, on one hand, and Libya, Turkey and Morocco, on the other.
Reacting to the influx, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson advocated, during a visit to the archipelago, sending more migrants back to their home countries, except those with refugee status.