Gran Canaria holidaymakers help ‘exhausted’ migrants washed up on beach

‘It was a really tough journey,’ says Red Cross worker

Zoe Tidman
Sunday 01 December 2019 15:28
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Gran Canaria holidaymakers help ‘exhausted’ migrants washed up on beach

Migrants were helped by tourists on a Gran Canaria beach after a rickety boat carrying them arrived on its shore.

Locals and emergency workers also gave water, food and clothes to the migrants, who told Red Cross officials they had been travelling for six days, sometimes through rough waters.

Two dozen people from northern and sub-Saharan Africa, including three infants and one pregnant woman, landed on the shores of Aguila beach.

“It was a really tough journey,” Jose Antonio Rodriguez of the Red Cross said.

Exhausted, cold and some seemingly in a state of shock after navigating the Atlantic, they were given thermal blankets by rescue workers.

Mr Rodriguez said the sunbathers were "the first ones to help out" and offered food, water and milk for the babies on seeing they were very hungry.

“They also gave clothing as the migrants were soaking wet," he said.

One woman cradled an exhausted migrant in her lap as another woman in a swimsuit gave her water. Another used his beach towel to keep her feet warm.

The popular tourist destination of the Canary Islands has seen an increase of 22 per cent in arrivals, with 1,493 migrants arriving so far this year by mid-November.

Last week, 13 people, including several children, were rescued from a boat in the English channel and were sent to a specialist unit for those wishing to seek asylum.

Several days before, sixteen people were found in a trailer on a ferry travelling to the Republic of Ireland from France after a member of staff heard banging from inside the container.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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