Spain warned to prepare as migrant arrivals from North Africa double

The number of migrants crossing from North Africa to Spain has doubled in 2017.
The increase in migrant boats arriving on Spanish shores is already stretching the country's insufficient structures, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said.
More than 360,000 refugees and migrants escaping poverty and conflicts reached Europe across the Mediterranean last year according to the UNHCR and more than 85,000 have reached Italy so far this year.
The Italian sea route is still the most popular overall with 59,000 migrants between January and May, up 32% from last year, but the Spanish route further west saw 6,800 migrants using it in the same period, a 75% increase from 2016.
The trend was even more pronounced in June as 1,900 migrants - who were mostly young men from Guinea, Ivory Coast, Gambia and Cameroon - reached the southern region of Andalusia, four times more than registered the same month last year.
About 88 migrants from Morocco were rescued off the Strait of Gibraltar in June, including 20 children.
Spanish police rescuing migrants in Gibraltar in June
Image:Spanish police rescuing migrants in Gibraltar in June
Further south, there was a fall in the number of migrants spotted in the Agadez region of Niger which is a key stop on the way to Libya from West Africa.
Buba Fubareh, a 27-year-old mason from Banjul, Gambia, who tried and failed to get to Europe via Libya earlier this year said: "People are talking about going to Spain. It seems like it is safer to go through Morocco to Spain than through Libya.
"The difference is that Libya doesn't have a president and Morocco does - there are not guns like in Libya."
A number of African migrants who passed through Libya have been beaten up, detained in camps with no food or water and even traded as slaves before being held for ransom, forced labour or sexual exploitation.
Migrant arrivals on the Spanish coastline averaged just under 5,000 a year between 2010 and 2016, according to government data.
This was down from peak of 39,180 in 2006. It is on track to top 11,000 this year.
African migrants queue up in Italy
Video:Migrants' plight as they arrive in Europe
The UNHCR said Spain was not prepared to handle vulnerable groups, such as victims of trafficking or unaccompanied minors and refugees who should be channelled through asylum procedures.
Spokeswoman for the UNHCR in Spain, Maria Jesus Vega said: "What is clear is that, they (Spain's government) have to get ready.
"They can't be caught unprepared. What started happening elsewhere in Europe in 2015 can't be allowed to happen here.
"It's not yet an emergency, but you have to take into account that there are no structures here to deal with more arrivals."
Spain warned to prepare as migrant arrivals from North Africa double Spain warned to prepare as migrant arrivals from North Africa double Reviewed by Alexander Von Stern on 07:42:00 Rating: 5