One dead, several missing after refugees’ boat capsizes off Senegalese coast
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CAPE TOWN - One person has died and several remain missing and are feared dead after a wooden boat capsized off the coast of Senegal last week.
According to local reports, authorities said that "the boat flipped over" around 15km off the northern port city of Saint Louis.
Many refugees make the dangerous and often fatal trek to Europe as they flee conflict and poverty.
The Senegalese navy was carrying out a search-and-rescue mission on Saturday, August 28, according to reports.
It is believed that around 60 refugees were aboard the makeshift boat.
The Senegalese navy rescued 11 people, including eight Senegalese and three Gambians, and recovered a body, it said in a statement on Friday.
The New Humanitarian estimates that the Atlantic maritime route to the Canary Islands is considered the most dangerous sea passage for Africans trying to reach Europe.
In a 2020 report by The New Humanitarian, the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off West Africa’s coast, saw a surge in migration in 2020.
More than 19,500 refugees made their way to the islands by early December, according to reports.
Arrivals to the Islands have increased by 750% since last year, according to recent data.
According to a report released by the United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM), at least 849 people died this year en route to the Canary Islands, more than four times as many as the previous six years.
Senegal has traditionally been an important country of destination in the West African region and has now also become a country of emigration and transit migration, said the IOM.
Although Senegal is widely seen as a stable democracy with good economic growth in a volatile region, people still risk migrating to Europe.