By JENNIFER O'MAHONY
MADRID — A Spanish nonprofit organization said Wednesday that the number of migrants who died or were reported missing while trying to reach Spain was 2,390 last year, a decrease on 2021 but in line with the past five years.
Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders) said that the figure included 288 women and 101 children.
Some 1,784 of the migrants died while trying to reach Spain’s Canary Islands by boat, it said. But the migrant rights group also raised alarm over the “invisibility” of an increasingly popular route from Algeria to Spain’s eastern Mediterranean coast. At least 464 people died trying to reach Europe on this route in 2022, it said.
Caminando Fronteras says it compiles its own figures from families of migrants and rescue statistics. The International Organization for Migration, which compiles figures from media reports, nongovernmental organizations and interviews with migrants, in addition to official records, has said that 2,556 people lost their lives trying to reach Europe as whole last year, of whom 1,126 were on the Western Africa and Atlantic route and 260 in the Western Mediterranean — the routes to Spain.
The number of irregular migrants arriving in Spain decreased by 25.6% in 2022, according to interior ministry figures, from 41,945 in 2021 to 31,219 in 2022. However, illegal overland arrivals at Spain’s border points with Morocco in the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in northern Africa rose 24.1%.
Caminando Fronteras put the death toll from a notorious border incident on June 24 at 40 people. Previous reports gave the number of dead as 23.
On that day, hundreds of men climbed over a fence on the Moroccan side of the border in Melilla and were corralled into a border crossing area. When they managed to break through the gate to the Spanish side, several people were crushed.