Thirteen people have perished on board a makeshift boat as they attempted a perilous voyage, in search of a new life. The victims were from Africa. Their destination was Europe. Under-equipped and lightly-dressed, they are believed to have died of hypothermia after days at sea in severe cold and rainy weather. They were heading to Fuerteventura, a popular tourist venue and the closest of Spain’s Canary Islands to the African coast.
Local authorities are well aware of the dangers facing the would-be migrants, lamenting the lack of resources available to control immigration and prevent this sort of disaster. Thousands of Africans set out on the treacherous journey to the Canaries or mainland Spain each year in what is a booming business for human smuggling mafias. Since the start of 2004, more than 130 people are thought to have lost their lives in the attempt. Some 30 survivors travelled on the same boat as the 13 people who died. Now, however, they face a highly uncertain future.