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Huge Europe-Morocco migration begins after COVID-19 disruption


Morocco begins on Sunday to welcome an influx of its citizens living in Europe after the pandemic put an end to what has been called one of the largest intercontinental migrations in the world.

The last such effort in the summer of 2019 saw 3.3 million people and more than three quarters of a million vehicles crossing the Strait of Gibraltar.

The North African kingdom is just 14 kilometers (nine miles) from the Spanish coast, which has announced that it will also put in place special measures for Moroccans from June 15 for two months.

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The Spanish government has called seasonal migration “one of the greatest flows of people across continents in such a short time”.

The resumption of large-scale travel across the strait comes not only after an easing of the pandemic threat, but also following a restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The year-long diplomatic dispute had extended border closures initially put in place because of Covid-19, but maritime traffic resumed in April.

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“Operation Marhaba (Welcome) for Moroccans living abroad begins on June 5,” said a statement from the Mohammed V Solidarity Foundation, which is organizing the effort, on Saturday evening.

More than 1,000 people, including doctors, social workers and volunteers, have signed up to help people arriving at ports and airports.

Most will come by boat from Spain.

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Besides the Moroccan ports, assistants will be stationed in the Spanish ports of Almeria and Algeciras, Marseilles in France and Genoa in Italy, among others.

The traffic goes both ways, as many Moroccans also head to Spanish resorts for their holidays.

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Post expires at 1:43pm on Wednesday June 15th, 2022

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