“Can I help, in English?”
The 1-1-2 service in the Canary Islands is becoming a multinational help-line, according to new figures.
During the first half of the year, operators took 4,317 calls from foreign visitors and most of them were answered in English. The service also offers help in German, Italian and French.
The Co-ordination Centre for Emergencies and Security (CECOES), operated by the Canary Government, took 2,826 calls in English, representing 65% of all the requests from foreigners. In the same period, there were 1,000 calls from Germans (just over 23%), eight per cent from Italians with 351 calls and 118 from French visitors (nearly three per cent of the total). There were nine calls in other languages.
The service said there were more calls in the first three months of the year (more than 800 calls a month) while in May, June and July, this decreased to an average of 600 calls a month from foreign people needing assistance.
Most of the calls, just over 46%, related to security issues whilst 27.5% related to health matters. Different types of accidents only accounted for seven per cent.