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Migrant arrivals to the Canary Islands up tenfold on last year

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Migrants from a group of 1300 rescued from different boats remain in the port of Arguineguin while being cared for by the Spanish Red Cross
Migrants from a group of 1300 rescued from different boats remain in the port of Arguineguin while being cared for by the Spanish Red Cross   -   Copyright  Credit: AFP
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Spain’s government is stepping up its response amid a surge in the number of migrants travelling to the Canary Islands.

Coastguards said more than 700 migrants were rescued on Saturday (November 14) and brought to the islands, which are situated off the western coast of southern Morocco.

It brings the number of migrants who have arrived on the islands this year to 16,000, more than 10 times last year’s total.

On Saturday, demonstrators demanded better living conditions for migrants already living on the Spanish archipelago.

Aid groups estimate about 4,000 migrants are living in tourist hotels because of the lack of refugee reception centres.

The Federation of Hospitality and Tourism Enterprises of Gran Canaria called on Saturday on the government to act so hotels could be used again for tourists.

Spain’s regional policy minister said on Friday it would expand naval patrols around the Canary Islands and set up more migrant centres in response to the surge in arrivals.

The new migrant focus on the perilous Canary Islands route has come as authorities crack down on previously popular passages across the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa to European Union countries.

Euronews reporter Jamie Velázquez visited the port of Arguineguin in Gran Canaria. Watch his report in the media player, above.