Increased numbers of Canary Island refugees follows improving weather

Since MSF started its activities only one month ago looking after immigrants arriving on the Spanish island of Fuerteventure - a part of the Canary Islands, the MSF team has attended a total number of 378 immigrants: 75% of whom were sub-Saharans and 25% were north Africans. Nearly half of this number was done in just two days.

With the beginning of the good weather, the number of new arrivals on the beaches of Fuerteventura has increased significantly. During the past weekend, the team assisted 167 immigrants arriving on six different ‘pateras’ (boats).

The MSF team provided medical care and distributed dry clothes, blankets, food and water. Most of the immigrants that cross the sea on ‘pateras’ – a trip that lasts 20 hours - present the same symptoms of hypothermia, hypoglycaemia, exhaustion, dehydration, hunger and thirst.

Men are still the clear majority who reach Fuerteventura but MSF is assisting women more and more often. Last week the team looked after a baby that was only six weeks old.

MSF has set up a field hospital in the Gran Tarajal harbour as this is the site where most immigrants are brought after being intercepted on high seas by the Civil Guard. The organisation also has a mobile team moving alongside the coast in order to assist the immigrants who land outside areas where officials were present.
The team in Fuerteventura consists of a coordinator, doctor, nurse and logistician.