News travelled the globe last night after twenty-four individuals, including three babies and three other minors, arrived on Saturday morning in an open boat, known as a patera, coming ashore on Playa del Águila (Eagle Beach), on the south eastern shores of Gran Canaria. The quiet beach is used by a range of visitors and residents, many of whom immediately ran to help the clearly distressed occupants of the little fishing vessel. Having spend five days adrift at sea 13 of the migrants were referred to health centers, presenting with symptoms including dehydration, dizziness and vomiting. The Red Cross who responded have said that the worst affected was one of the babies, who was urgently evacuated, due to vomiting and high fever, and was transferred to the specialist Maternal and Children’s Hospital in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The patera was carrying six children, ten adult men and eight women, two of them pregnant, and made landfall at Eagle beach, just north of the tourist town of San Agustín, before assistance arrived. Both Maghrebi (11) and sub-Saharan (13) migrants, were on board, and this has been pointed out as unusual for the boats that do reach the islands. “Many of them have abdominal pains, blisters and are exhausted,” said vice president of the Red Cross in the Canary Islands, Gerardo Santana Cazorla. The boat people have told health workers and security forces, who attended to them on the beach, that they had been at sea for between four & five days, enduring bad conditions, having set off from the coast of Morocco . Over the last two weeks, several other boats have arrived on Gran Canaria stretching the island’s reception capacity resources, and forcing the Spanish Government Delegation to reopen the Centre for Foreigners Internment (CIE) in Barranco Seco, which was undergoing renovations. The situation has also led the Red Cross to strengthen its available resources. “It has been quite complex, but the Spanish Red Cross is able to attend to these and up to double the amount, should they arrive. We will attend to those who arrive, because it is our mission” said the vice president of the entity on the islands.
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