Death toll doubles in 2021 for migrants trying to reach Spain

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Jan. 3 (UPI) — The number of migrants who died or disappeared trying to reach Spain more than doubled in 2021 at 4,404 — including 205 children, according to a report released Monday.

The nongovernmental organization Caminando Fronteras said in the report that the number of deaths was more than twice the 2,170 deaths and disappearances recorded in 2020.

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The group has been collecting data since 2016, focusing primarily on the Western Euro African Border. Most of the deaths occur at sea; 95% of bodies are never recovered.

An average of 12 people have died per day attempting to reach Spanish shores on one of several migratory routes.

The deadliest has been the Canary Islands route, where 4,106 people died in 124 shipwrecks.

People who died attempting to reach Spain came from 21 countries, many fleeing armed conflicts or the consequences of climate change.

High numbers of victims were recorded in January and February on boats from Mauritiana.

One of the peaks in mortality occurred during a diplomatic crisis between Morocco and Spain. From late May to early June, over 481 migrants died at sea in 10 incidents.

In August, more than 600 people died or went missing during 21 incidents.

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“The terrifying figures recorded show how the number of tragic incidents continues to grow steadily year after year, and deadly policies have become entrenched at the border,” the report stated.