Skip to navigationSkip to content

Photos: Holiday-makers are unfazed by migrants straggling onto their beaches

Reuters/Borja Suarez
Maspalomas beach, Canary Islands.
By Caitlin Hu
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

An incongruous scene has become increasingly common on Europe’s beaches: tourists sunbathing, fishing and playing as bedraggled migrants make their way ashore.

“This is an era of unprecedented movement across borders,” Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesman for the International Organization of Migration in Italy, told the Washington Post in April. In 2014, the European Union received about 626,000 applications for asylum, the most since 1992.

So far this year, more than 100,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean,  bound for European shores. Nearly 2,000 have died at sea. The photos below suggest how chillingly unremarkable this flow of lives has become, at least to some seaside habitués.

Reuters/Juan Medina
Gran Tarajal beach in Spain’s Canary Island.
Reuters/Borja Suarez
Two would-be immigrants rest at Maspalomas beach in Spain’s Canary Islands
Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi
Migrants (R) sit next to tourists near a beach at the southern Italian island of Lampedusa.
Reuters/Borja Suarez
Maspalomas beach, on Gran Canaria in Spain’s Canary Islands.
Reuters/Jose Palazon
African migrants attempt to cross into Spanish territories between Morocco and Spain’s north African enclave of Melilla.
Reuters/Eric Gaillard
A man fishes from his boat as a group of migrants gather on the seawall at the Saint Ludovic border between Vintimille, Italy and Menton, France.
Reuters/Jean-Pierre Amet
A group of migrants protect themselves from the weather with emergency blankets at the Saint Ludovic border between Vintimille, Italy and Menton, France.
Reuters/Juan Medina
The body of a migrant on a beach on El Matorral beach in Fuerteventura, Spain.

📬 A periodic dispatch from the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in NYC.

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.