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Scores of migrants arrive on the Canary Islands

Migrants arriving on the Canary Islands.   -  
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Africanews -

Spain

Another rescue ship arrives in the port of Arguineguin, in the Canary Islands. It is not the first of the day, and it will not be the last. More than 15,000 migrants have arrived in these Spanish Islands since August.

On these precarious wooden boats, these migrants brave the Atlantic Ocean to reach Europe's South Gate. Hidden away from the view of the media, hundreds of migrants receive first aid, on a pier where not a single square meter remains vacant.

Euronews reporter Jaime Velázquez reporting from the scene said "This is the closest we can get to the pier of Arguineguin where hundreds of migrants are arriving daily. The sleep on those white tents that are now completely overcrowded. We heard reports of them sleeping on the floor, covering themselves with blankets or even cardboards as a protection from the sun. Up to 2.000 people have been stranded in this pier for day. Now the government is looking for new facilities to improve their living conditions."

As a temporary solution, they are sent to hotels, where they get tested for covid-19 and remain in quarantine. Apartments and hotels in the island are hosting around 4,000 migrants. But with one of the lowest Covid -19 infection rates in Europe, the hospitality sector believes it is time to again promote the Canary Islands as a safe holiday destination.

"We have come to the rescue, because there were a lot of migrants, without a roof, with nothing... But now it is time again to occupy our beds with tourists", Vice-President of the Canaries' FEHT hotel Federation, Tom Smulders said.

The situation is creating tensions among locals, between those who demand better conditions for the migrants... and those who believe the situation is becoming unbearable. They believe that by barring the media, authorities are hiding away the real situation.

"The fact that you cannot see it, doesn't mean it is not happening. The neighbors are here, and the neighbors can see with their eyes the tragedy, the drama we are going through in this town", Arguineguin resident. Aaron Roda told Euronews.

Outside his hotel, Moroccan migrant Usama recalls the journey that brought him to Europe in the quest for a better life.

"I've seen the death at the sea. I was on the sea for four nights. The waves were coming in the patera... I couldn't.... We are looking for another life. I just want to come to Spain to continue with my life", he said.

Meanwhile, at Arguineguin port, hundreds of migrants continue to arrive in these orange boats, carrying their dreams and rescued from a nightmare. But soon, there will be no more room.

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