A two-year-old girl from Mali who was rescued from a migrant boat and resurrected on a dock in the Canary Islands last week has died in hospital, becoming the latest victim on the dangerous Atlantic route from Africa to Europe.
The girl was one of 52 people traveling on a boat that had left the city of Dakhla in Western Sahara bound for the Spanish archipelago.
The ship, which was carrying 29 women, 14 men and nine children, was found last Tuesday by the Spanish maritime rescue service. Many of the occupants showed signs of hypothermia and dehydration after being at sea for five days.
They were taken ashore in the port of Arguineguín in Gran Canaria, where Red Cross workers ran to save the girl, who was unconscious and whose heart had stopped. Images of his frantic efforts to resurrect the boy. appeared in the Spanish media, providing one more reminder of the dangers of the Atlantic route, which has claimed 19 lives so far this year.
The little girl was taken to the intensive care unit of a children’s hospital in the island’s capital, Las Palmas, where she died on Sunday.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez described his death as “Like a cry that touches all our consciences”, adding: “There are no words to describe so much pain.”
Ángel Víctor Torres, regional president of the Canary Islands, tweeted: “We saw the painful images of his arrival on the islands and today his death. [She] it is the face of the humanitarian drama that migration represents… She was looking for a better life. I was two years old “.
The boy’s death comes just over four years after the body of Samuel Kabamba, a four-year-old boy from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who died trying to reach Europe with his mother, landed on a beach in southern Spain.
The deaths of Samuel and his mother, Véronique Nzazi, prompted calls for further action to reduce the risks of migration, and also led to comparisons with Alan Kurdi, the two-year-old Syrian refugee whose death in 2015 briefly forced the world to focus on the human cost of the migration crisis.
More than 40,300 people arrived in Spain by sea last year, with more than 25,000 of them arriving in the Canary Islands, causing the archipelago’s reception infrastructure to collapse under pressure.
Conflicts, land border closures forced by the Covid pandemic and increased controls in some North African countries have led smuggling gangs to reactivate the long and dangerous crossing of the Atlantic. At least 593 people died en route to the Canary Islands in 2020, compared to 210 in 2019 and 45 in 2018.
Last month, Spanish police released photos and videos of people trying to reach Europe from North Africa by hiding in containers of broken bottles and sealed bags of toxic ash.
The ministers of Greece, Italy, Spain, Cyprus and Malta met in Athens on Sunday to reiterate calls for solidarity in the management of mass migration to the EU, insisting that the burden should be shared more fairly with other countries. of the block.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism