37 migrants have drowned, among them four women, two children, a baby and several adolescents – after their inflatable patera (boat) sank in waters between the African coast and the Canary Islands yesterday morning.
24 people were saved in an operation that has already caused strong criticism of Spanish and Moroccan authorities, given that the boat had called for assistance 12 hours earlier.
On Tuesday evening, family members of the migrants contacted the Caminando Fronteras charity, alerting them of a boat in difficulties. The association immediately reported the situation to Spanish emergency services, who they claim had responsibility over these waters.
Nevertheless, Spain requested that the Moroccan navy take charge of the rescue, which was delayed for 12 hours , by which time it was too late.
“Countries continue playing with people’s lives,” said Helena Maleno of Caminando Fronteras, “Spain says Morocco should go even though Morocco has no air-sea rescue service. Morocco say they’ll go because they claim the waters; but in the end they leave them waiting because no one cares if they die.”
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