Spain rescues 600 migrants in one day

Spain rescues 600 migrants in one day

Spain's coastguard has rescued about 600 migrants in just 24 hours, as the country sees a spike in migrant arrivals.

Most are sailing across the 12-km Strait of Gibraltar and many are choosing cheap, child-sized paddle boats without motors that allow them to bypass people smuggling networks and their fees.

The rescued migrants were in 15 vessels including toy paddleboats and a jet ski. There were 21 children, including one baby, rescued yesterday, according to the emergency services.... Although this figure lags by nearly 800 the number of deaths (3,203) recorded at this time last year, it nonetheless marks the fourth consecutive year migrant deaths in the Mediterranean Sea have exceeded 2,400.

But at least 121 had drowned trying to make the same crossing. The migrant boats were intercepted separately early Wednesday. IOM Rome spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo noted that August arrivals thus far, at just over 2,000 migrants, including refugees, are running at under 10 per cent of 2016 and 2015 August arrivals, despite being almost at the month's midway point (see chart below).

A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum.

Last week beach-goers in southern Spain watched as a dinghy carrying African migrants came ashore and the migrants dispersed into the countryside.