Tragedy struck as more than 2,200 migrants have been reported dead while making attempt to reach Spain by sea, according to our reliable source, a migrant rights group on Tuesday with a vast majority of them having Canary Islands as their target destination. This death toll recorded in 2020 alone sets new records for casualties that often occur from the very dangerous migration by sea.
The rights group stated that migrants’ arrivals in the archipelago have increased this year as they looked for alternative routes to reach Europe due to increased patrolling off the Mediterranean coast of southern Spain, posing a logistical strain for authorities in the Canaries. A total of about 2,170 migrants perished in an attempt to get to Spain by boat this year, compared to 893 in 2019, according to a report by our reliable source, which monitors migratory flows.
85 percent of this year’s deaths, or 1,851 deaths took place during 45 shipwrecks on the route to the Canary Islands, according to the report. The shortest route to the islands is more than 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the Moroccan coast, but it is notoriously dangerous because of the strong currents in the Atlantic.
Helena Maleno, an activist with the NGO, blamed the rise in deaths this year on the greater distance needed to travel to the Canaries and the “dismantlement of rescue services”. Helena Maleno also blamed a lack of coordination between the nations which operate rescue services in the region such as Spain, Mauritania, Senegal and Morocco which leads to delays in launching operations.
However, Spanish Interior Ministry figures show that between January 1st and November 30th 2020, a total of 19,566 people landed on the Atlantic archipelago, compared with just 1,993 a year earlier. The surge in arrival filled migrant reception centers on the Canaries, forcing thousands of migrants to live in a makeshift tent camp on a pier in the island of Gran Canaria last month. They were eventually transferred to a military camp and hotels on the island.
Still on the news, a survey conducted by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in partnership with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) has shown that a predominant majority (79% average) of respondents in Africa would take a COVID-19 vaccine if it were deemed safe and effective.
Conducted between August and December 2020, the survey interviewed more than 15,000 adults, aged 18 years and above, across 15 African countries namely Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, and Uganda. Data from the survey shows significant variations in willingness across countries and across the five regions in the continent from 94% and 93% respectively in Ethiopia and Niger to 65% and 59% respectively in Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Covid-19 situation in Africa is taking a worrying trend with positive cases from 55 countries reaching 2.5 million according to Johns Hopkins’ data as of December 18th, 2020. The data also shows that Africa has lost 57,814 people while recoveries are tagged at 2,070,501. Africa’s low cases has been attributed to low testing in most countries on the continent.
South Africa is the most affected country by the Coronavirus on the continent and has entered a second wave of the pandemic, the health minister declared on Wednesday. The country now counts 828,598 infections after 6,709 new cases were detected between Tuesday and Wednesday. South Africa had reined in its first wave which occurred in July at an average of 12,000 cases detected daily. Numbers then gradually came down, at a point dropping below 1,000 in September. Africa just like the rest of the world is hoping to get the Covid-19 vaccine for protection.