Malaga reaches capacity with no more available space to house illegal boat migrants

Migrants in a Malaga sports hall earlier this year.
Migrants in a Malaga sports hall earlier this year. / ÑITO SALAS
  • Sports centres which were being used for temporary shelter are now needed with the start of the school year

Following the latest wave of migrant boats into Malaga, the city no longer has the capacity to process and shelter the new arrivals with the sports centres, which were being used as makeshift accommodation, now needed for sporting activities now that the school year has started.

The city hall can no longer loan out the sports halls, meaning that any further people rescued from the Alboran sea must now be transported elsewhere.

The possible creation of a permanent processing centre, similar to the one that exists in Motril and Algeciras, has been under consideration by the government for several months but nothing definitive has been decided.

Central government representative for Malaga, María Gámez, said that studies were "ongoing" into a new centre in the Muelle 9 dock in Malaga port. Gámez, however, wouldn't commit, saying: "We are working to see if we can make the investment."

The lack of space in Malaga comes at a time when arrivals to the Malaga coast are increasing steeply. According to numbers provided by the government, so far this year in excess of 4,500 migrants have arrived into Malaga port, almost double the figure from the entire previous year (2,320). In 2016, the number was as little as 774.

In light of the difficulties encountered by the Cruz Roja (the Spanish Red Cross) in transporting these migrants to other parts of Spain, principally to Cadiz province, Social Rights councillor at Malaga city hall, Raúl Jiménez, said that further temporary measures were being looked into, including contacting schools whose sports centre are not in use, as well as looking at using the city's fair ground as temporary accommodation.