Tag: #TheCanaryMigrantCrisis

Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine

The Canary Guide Día de Canarias #WeekendTips 26-28 May 2023

What an interesting last weekend of May ahead. Weather predictions are showing some rain showers are likely across Gran Canaria. This extended #WeekendTips covers up to Tuesday, when all things Canarian are celebrated on the Día de Canarias. There’ll be some gorgeous Patron Saints’ festivities happening in San Fernando de Maspalomas as well as in Valleseco.

Fun Fact:
Valleseco literally means “dry valley” in Spanish, but is actually one of the wettest municipalities Gran Canaria. Nestling between the famous fresh water sources of Firgas & Teror, half way up the island’s mountainous northern slopes, this area is well known for its apple growers, cider and its weekly market

Six weeks since the unexplained disappearance of Anna-Karin on Gran Canaria

The authorities on Gran Canaria have been engaged in a rigorous search for Swedish tourist Anna-Karin Bengtsson, who went missing in the south of Gran Canaria around April 9. Her unexplained disappearance has caused her family much distress, with no clues to her whereabouts having emerged in the six weeks since they first realised her phone was no longer functioning.

The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 19-21 May 2023


An exciting May weekend ahead with abundant events and festivities taking place all around Gran Canaria. There are Patron Saints’ festivities for Motor Grande, in Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, and in El Tablero in the municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana and up in the mountains of Artenara. There is also a two day lively exhibition event in Meloneras boulevard and the Rally Gran Canaria is held this Friday and Saturday.


At least 8 dead after migrant boat capsizes just off Lanzarote coast in the night

Emergency services have today recovered four more bodies from the water after a boat carrying a group of at least 35 people capsized last night just off the coast of La Condesa, on the north of Lanzarote, very close to the shore, bringing the total to 8 dead, all male.

The increased death toll was announced by the manager of the Lanzarote Emergency Consortium, Enrique Espinosa, who said that emergency services personnel were bringing the dead to shore.
At least 35 migrants were reported to be traveling on the open boat, according to Maritime Rescue sources, of whom 28 were rescued last night, with one of those sent for treatment to a local health centre.
The event occurred around 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening when the dinghy collided with the breakwater of the Órzola pier, explained Espinosa. It just so happened that two Asociación de Voluntarios en Emergencias y Rescate de Lanzarote Emerlan boats were transporting 30 migrants from La Graciosa, where they landed yesterday afternoon, headed to Lanzarote and were close to where the Órzola incident occurred “so they could act immediately” Espinosa added.
Emergency personnel in Órzola heard screams behind the jetty of the pier, which alerted them to the arrival of the boat, warning “They don’t know how to swim”.


Up to 800 migrants will be transferred to military camp in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

The Spanish Army have constructed a transit camp at their old Barranco Seco facility, ready to start receiving migrants currently crowded onto the harbour pier in the port of Arguineguín. The army’s Twitter account was used to announce that the Canary Islands XVI Brigade has erected 23 tents (nine more than those available in Arguineguín) at the facilities assigned to the Ministry of the Interior, to which, once completed a total of up to 800 migrants will be transferred and accommodated and so help put an end to the deplorable situation that has continued for the several months on the south of the island.

La Brigada ‘Canarias’ XVI del @MCANA_ET monta un campamento de 200 plazas con 23 tiendas en el antiguo polvorín de ‘Barranco Seco’, en Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.Instalaciones transferidas al Ministerio del Interior @interiorgob . pic.twitter.com/ZgLwAw0mxm
— @EjercitoTierra ?? (@EjercitoTierra) November 11, 2020

When, exactly, migrants will be transferred is still not yet known, with the first tents, containing 200 berths, having been completed today.Earlier this summer, the Spanish Red Cross had tried to set up an emergency camp, in collaboration with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), with tents and prefabricated modules to accommodate up to a thousand people, on land granted by the Spanish State Port Authority, in Arinaga, on the south east coast of Gran Canaria.  The idea, then, was to anticipate a long expected rebound in migrant arrivals, which they had repeatedly warned could start to reach record numbers by the end of summer 202 and the first weeks of autumn, when Atlantic weather conditions in this area generally favour navigation in small boats.
However, weeks later they had to dismantle the reception camp due to the refusal of the Agüimes Town Hall, who would not give the necessary permits, which caused the UNHCR to remove the facilities and left the Red Cross to erect a makeshift camp at the Arguineguín dockside, which is the main Maritime Rescue landings base for the south of the island, and where several search and rescue vessels are maintained.
That camp opened on August 20, theoretically for a maximum capacity of about 400 people at a time, but has been repeatedly overwhelmed by the much higher than expected flow of migrants, reaching up to 1,400 people a day at times, to which Gran Canaria’s humanitarian reception network could not respond quickly enough, even after they expanded their available resources by placing migrants into tourist resort accommodation, that had been left empty due to the current health crisis.
At times more than 2,000 people have been crowded onto the Arguineguín port, without sufficient tents available for everyone, in all cases forced to sleep on the ground, their only protection from the elements a blanket, and in some cases having had to remain there up to two weeks at a time, when legally conditions such as these should not exceed 72 hours.  The effort has been further complicated by needing to test every arrival for coronavirus, and wait at least 2 days for the results, while maintaining each group of arrivals separately from each other.
Spain’s Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, announced during his visit to the island, last Friday, that “in a few weeks” the Arguineguín camp would be closed and facilities provided by the Ministry of Defense would take over the reception protocols for new arrivals.

Editor’s Comment:
About bloody time.
That it has taken this long to confirm that migrants will be transferred from the Arguineguín port is pretty inexcusable. Particularly as it has allowed far-right anti-immigration rhetoric to publicly rear its ugly head on the south of the island, using a humanitarian crisis to prey on the fears and frustrations of a population already suffering from profound poverty, questionable leadership and the economic effects of the crisis generated in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic response. Fascist ideologies thrive when falsely pitting one set of poor people against another, as has been seen time and time again.
By claiming concern over the treatment of migrant arrivals, local politicians too have insidiously sought to distract public attention from serious allegations levied against them, following multiple arrests in an ongoing electoral fraud investigation, and shielded them from scrutiny after the local town hall’s highly controversial decision to close the only food bank distribution point in the area.
With luck, the flow of migrants will be reduced over coming weeks as the weather becomes less favourable and the proper processing of those arriving on the islands can continue in an orderly manner, without racists pretending to be realists to further their own interests, and allow EU and Spanish governments to try to work more closely with migration experts and African countries from which many of these people try to escape in an effort to reduce the causes of these migratory flows which have lead more than 15,000 people to risk their lives in open boats to come here. We can hope too that proactive policies may start to reduce, too, the estimated thousand or more people who have died horribly in the attempt already so far this year.
More than 7,000 migrants have reportedly been transferred to mainland spain, into facilities set up by the Ministry of Migration, with those currently being temporarily accommodated in tourist resorts expected to be moved on too in coming weeks.
Arguineguín, in Gran Canaria’s southern tourist municipality of Mogán, can once again begin to return to the multitude of social issues that have been affecting the area, both before and since the pandemic wrought havoc on the local economy and poorest members of society.


The Canary News

The Canary Islands appeal to the Spanish State and Europe allocate more resources to attend to migration

The President of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres chaired the inaugural session of the Canary Immigration Forum, to appeal to the Spanish State and the EU, from the Presidency headquarters in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria earlier in September, with participation from the Secretary of State for Migration, Hana Jalloul, the President the Civil Liberties and Home Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, the Minister of Social Rights, Noemí Santana, Spain’s Government delegate to the Canary Islands, Anselmo Pestana, representatives of the island and local administrations, socio-economic agents of the archipelago and ONGs (via telematics) to discuss the need urgent to open existing public spaces in the Canary Islands “to serve migrants with dignity, in addition to expediting their transit urgently to the European continent,” said the president. In this sense, he remarked that from the Canary Islands up to seven school residences have been assigned to house migrants of legal age, whose competence is the Government of Spain.
Ángel Víctor Torres said the Forum had been productive and, “not being a simple situation, I trust that the meetings that are going to be held immediately between ministries so that the pertinent measures are arbitrated, will bear fruit”. The president of the Canary Islands insisted that, in addition to having adequate facilities that are owned by the State and which are currently free, external surveillance must be reinforced. This Forum is an advisory and consultation body of the Government of the Canary Islands on immigration matters appealling to the Spanish State and “it is the most appropriate area to seek solutions among all those involved,” said Torres.
The president, as well as voicing his appeal to the Spanish State, sent a message to the European institutions, so that solidarity mechanisms are activated “because we cannot wait any longer. It cannot be that there are hundreds of people in tents in the Port of Arguineguín”, he pointed out. Given the current situation, with people fleeing their countries due to extreme poverty, famines, persecution, or coups, – circumstances that are aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic-, “the migratory phenomenon reaching the southern border cannot end here. Europe cannot turn its back on this situation because we will be failing in the concept of the European Union, of which the Canary Islands are part as an outermost region, ”Torres remarked.
Noemí Santana, indicated that “we must have a network of stable resources in the Canary Islands and an open regime and that is why we ask the Spanish Government for more and better means, not only human but material, and Europe, to remember its border South is the Canary Islands ”. In this regard, Santana demanded a coordinated and joint work between Europe, the State and the Canary Islands, which makes it essential that “the Canary Islands participate on a state level in the areas in which the issue of immigration is addressed.”
Regarding the reception and care of unaccompanied foreign minors, the Minister of Social Rights demanded “a specific fund for the regions with the greatest pressure to care for minors” and recalled that, while in August 2019, the Canary Islands had a protection network with 328 sheltered foreign minors, the figure is currently more than 730, “a figure that will continue to increase with the continued arrival of boats to our shores.”
“The Canary Islands today have fewer resources than ten years ago, with which we must carry out a self-criticism and make more resources available for the care of this population,” said the counsellor, who clarified that the current Canary Islands Government has done their duty and has enabled in recent months a total of nine emergency resources for the reception of unaccompanied foreign minors, a matter in which the regional Executive is competent.
Agreed proposals
The representatives of the Forum worked on a document of conclusions to appeal to the Spanish State that contemplates, among other measures, the establishment of a Fund for the Reception and Integration of Immigrants, as it existed until 2011, within the General State Budgets, with a significant increase in the allocation of funds for migration management and the improvement of the Integrated External Surveillance System (SIVE), as well as the establishment of stable accommodation resources for the care of migrants, and the need to develop periodic Canary Islands coordination meetings -State and renewal of the Africa Plan with special emphasis on the economic and social development of the countries of the African Atlantic front, are just some of the measures that the Canary Immigration Forum agreed at the meeting in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, in order to refer the matter to the Spanish State.
In addition, the urgent renewal of the Action Plan on unaccompanied minors (2010-2014) was proposed, as well as the provision of a specific item of funds for regions that, such as the Canary Islands, receive a greater number of unaccompanied foreign minors so as to be able to offer concrete answers to the challenges posed by their arrival in the EU.

The President of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, stressed the need to open new public spaces for the reception of migrants and speed up their transit to the European continent
The Minister of Social Rights, Noemí Santana, recalled that the Canary Islands have opened in recent months a total of nine emergency centres for the reception of foreign minors, an area in which the Canary Islands Government holds competence


The Canary News