At least 951 people, including 49 children, have died while trying to reach Spain by sea in the first six months of 2023, according to a monitoring group.
In a report released on Thursday, Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders) said the people lost at sea hailed from 14 countries: Algeria, Cameroon, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo,Ethiopia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Morocco, The Gambia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria and The Gambia.
On average, five people lost their lives every day in the first half of this year along four different routes: the Canary Islands route, the Alboran Sea route, the Algerian route and the Strait of Gibraltar route.
The group, which compiled its findings from official sources, refugee communities and rescue organisations on the ground, said 19 boats went missing with all the people on board between January and June.
The access route to Spain via the Canary Islands accounted for the highest number of recorded deaths, with up to 778 people losing their lives in 28 incidents.
“Meanwhile, on the Alboran route, the two tragedies recorded in this period bring the number of victims to 21. As for the Algerian route, eight tragedies are known to have occurred, resulting in 102 victims. Finally, on the Strait of Gibraltar, 11 tragedies left 50 people dead,” the report said.
The organisation said that official Spanish figures show fewer boats arrived in the first six months, but that 13 more people died than in the first six months of last year.