August 2, 2021

The “disastrous” reception of immigrants damages their health, according to Doctors of the World


Several immigrants queue up at the Muelle de Arguineguín, in Gran Canaria.

Several immigrants queue up at the Muelle de Arguineguín, in Gran Canaria.
Europa Press – Archive

The NGO Doctors of the World has warned that the “dire” reception conditions for migrants upon arrival, mainly to the Canary Islands and Melilla, they are worsening health of these vulnerable people and generating problems of anxiety, depression and even attempts to suicide. In the report “Health sinks in the Southern Border”, this organization reveals the main diseases and disorders suffered by people who travel from African territory to Melilla and Canary Islands, the two main routes of entry to the country in recent months.

Doctors of the World states that the migration crisis has overflowing host services, which has caused overcrowding and overcrowding situations that have led to mental and digestive diseases and other disorders in these vulnerable people. And it even exposes thousands of migrants They have chosen to live on the street, since the reception centers do not offer them the basic needs of hygiene and food.

In 2020 there were some 23,000 arrivals to the Canary Islands, 75% more than the previous year. “The Government, which only budgeted 388 reception places in the archipelago, chose to crowd the displaced into tents installed on the Arguineguín dock before launching the Canary Islands plan,” the report explains. These facilities were prepared to house 400 people during the 72-hour period of detention, but they were occupied by more than 2,000 migrants over several weeks, Add. “There the security measures against the covid were not fulfilled, which caused several outbreaks among the migrants,” denounces the investigation of the humanitarian organization.

Doctors of the World also emphasizes the problems of mental health suffered by these people after overcoming what is considered the most dangerous journey in the world. Among others, cases of anxiety, depression and suicide attempts accentuated by a “permanent misinformation” stand out. It collects several testimonies from migrants, such as that of Younes, who was welcomed in one of the camps set up on the Canary coast: the experience was “worse than six days in a boat.” “Your family is scared because you don’t talk to them, they fear for you. That destroys us,” he explains. In addition, overcrowding led to sleep disorders and difficulties in accessing showers and running water in tents and makeshift shelters.

Another health problem reported in the report is digestive diseases. According to Doctors of the World, the shortage of food and drinking water, as well as the absence of a “minimally balanced” diet have been the causes that have caused them. In the case of Melilla, the NGO reveals that more than 2,000 migrants were blocked in the autonomous city during the months of the pandemic. The report indicates that 1,700 people were confined in the Center for Temporary Stay for Immigrants (CETI), prepared with only 780 places. Specifically, Doctors of the World reveals the degree of insalubrity that reached the center of the V Pino de Melilla, which had three bathrooms and a shower for more than 200 inmates.

Faced with institutionalized reception, the NGO’s analysis highlights the initiative of citizens who have decided to welcome migrants into their homes. “It is not extraordinary, it is humanity. Civil society has slapped the political class,” says Nanda, a neighbor who offered her home to a 19-year-old young man.

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