The Council of Ministers agreed on Tuesday to allocate €40 million from Spanish Government contingency funding to deal with this year’s increase in migrant arrivals to the Canary Islands.
The announcement came on the same day as a further €10 million of extraordinary funding was granted specifically to deal with unaccompanied minors who arrive on migrant boats, more than 2,500 of whom are currently being cared for on The Canary Islands.
The Government pointed out that they have in place a program to address the needs of migrants in vulnerable situations, whether due to physical deterioration or a lack of social, family and economic support, for people who arrive on the Spanish coasts or who are who present serious social and health risks and require immediate action to rectify them.
The unlocking of these contingency funding grants is designed to finance the comprehensive reception of vulnerable migrants, as well as the transferring of people who arrive on the coast, their emergency care, care in day centres and in large cities as well as care in settlements.
In the specific case of the Canary Islands, there has been a very significant increase in the arrivals of migrants to its coasts; added to this is the public health emergency caused by covid-19, which “has triggered an unprecedented and enormous health crisis, and with special impact on certain groups characterised by their vulnerability, such as migrants” who come to Spain.
Due to the pandemic, the number of places available for humanitarian assistance has decreased the capacity of the existing centres has had to be limited, along with places needed for quarantines or isolation of people residing in centres.
Likewise, the health crisis has also led to an increase in the length of stay needed in the centres, reducing their capacity to accommodate newcomers.
Among the solutions temporarily enabled, it has been necessary to hire tourist accommodation to deal with the situation and not leave any migrant without a reception place.
All this “has taken place while educational and sports institutions were being emptied, while PCR tests were carried out on all migrants at the coast, to guarantee health security,” adds the Council’s statement.
So as to meet the needs for the remainder of the year on the Canary Islands, the construction, assembly and disassembly of provisional facilities has been declared an emergency, as well as the contingency funding to deal with emergency social care and health care, reception facilities, the supply of materials to cover basic needs, minimal financial aid, transfers and any other service deemed necessary.