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Mauritania Calls for Help on EU-Bound Migrant Flood
More than 1000 Africans have died in the first four months of 2006, trying to reach the EU and the economic opportunity it represents. Increasing numbers of desperate migrants flee Africa in crowded and small fishing canoes, called pirogues, from Mauritania to the Canary Islands and the coast of Spain. Police intercepted a record 400 Africans in a single day, crowded into nine boats. In 2005 Africans stormed Spanish enclaves in northern Morocco. North Africans increased border patrols, thus shifting the end of the illegal migration route in Africa southward to Mauritania, adding hundreds of miles to the dangerous voyage. Yet the impoverished nation of Mauritania cannot control the many Africans who seek jobs to the north, and the prime minister of Mauritania has pleaded for international help. So now Spain must manage the human onslaught from afar: Officials of Spain and Mauritania continue to meet, and in the meantime, Spain helps to patrol Mauritania borders and has also established centers for the many migrants who have successfully reached its shores. These measures, of course, do not address the root causes propelling the emigrant flow – poverty and hopelessness in sub-Saharan Africa. – YaleGlobal