Child dies in Canary Islands after being rescued from a refugee boat

A two-year-old girl from Mali died on the Canary Island of Gran Canaria a few days after it was rescued from a refugee boat. Nabody died in a hospital on Sunday, the local authorities announced. The child was part of a group of 52 Africans who were rescued and brought ashore by a refugee boat near Gran Canaria on Tuesday. The Canary Islands are increasingly becoming a destination for refugees on their way to Europe.

The rescue workers handed the unconscious girl over to Red Cross helpers after her arrival. TV pictures showed how they tried to revive the toddler while they were still in the harbor. She has since been treated in the intensive care unit. According to media reports, Nabody was out with her mother and older sister. She suffered from severe hypothermia and had a cardiac arrest when she arrived at the port.

“Words cannot describe so much pain. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who fought to the end to save them,” wrote Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro S├ínchez on Twitter. The death of the child is “a wake-up call”.

Last year around 23,000 migrants landed on the Canary Islands, eight times as many as in 2019. In the first three months of this year, 3,000 refugees arrived on the islands, twice as many as in the same period last year.

The shortest distance from the Moroccan coast to the Canary Islands is more than a hundred kilometers. The route is considered dangerous due to strong currents, many refugee boats are overcrowded and not safe. According to the aid organization Caminando Fronteras, 1,851 refugees died on the route last year.

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