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Spain Seeks Additional EU Help to Stem Flood of Migrants

Spain is seeking additional help from the European Union as African migrants continue to arrive at the Canary Islands in record numbers.

Spain's Deputy Prime Minister, Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, is to meet with officials in Finland this week to discuss ways of stopping the influx. Finland holds the rotating EU presidency.

On Monday alone, some 300 migrants in rickety boats attempted to come ashore on Spanish-controlled islands, off Africa's northwest coast.

More than 18,000 African migrants have reached the Canaries in the past eight months. That is almost four times the number of migrants who illegally landed on the islands in all of 2005.

The migrants are mostly attempting to escape poverty in their home countries. Increasingly they leave from the coasts of Mauritania and Senegal. Hundreds have died trying to make the perilous journey.

The European Union has promised boats and aircraft to patrol the waters where the migrants travel, but the deployment is not yet in operation.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.