Thursday, October 3, 2019

Italian Island Faces Collapse as Migrant Numbers Surge

The Italian island of Lampedusa is under enormous strain and struggling to cope with new migrant arrivals, with its reception centre already at double capacity according to reports.  

The Mediterranean island, located to the south of Sicily, has seen a new wave of landings from Tunisia in recent weeks. On Tuesday night alone, 53 illegals landed on the island, Italian newspaper Il Giornale reports.  

The paper adds that another 80 migrants from Tunisia had arrived only days before. In total, around 300 migrants have arrived in Lampedusa in the past week.  

The local reception centre has the capacity for just 91 migrants. Now, with around 300 migrants, it's facing a crisis point. Approximately 75 of the migrants are expected to board a ferry to Agrigento, but that'll still leave the reception facility with double the number of migrants it was designed for.  

Matteo Salvini, leader of the populist League and former interior minister, slammed the new leftist coalition of the Five Star Movement and the Democratic Party over the surge in new illegals.  

"In just 3 weeks, this leftist government has increased the landings by 152% compared to the same last year," Salvini said. He noted that there had only been 942 last year, compared to this year’s 2,400 during the same period.  

The surge of migrants comes after the Democratic Party signalled they'd be reversing some of Salvini’s policies, including the closure of ports to migrant transport NGOs.  

Earlier this month, media reported that at least 10 NGOs are now operating in the search and rescue (SAR) zone off of Libyan territorial waters. One of the NGOs, Doctors Without Borders, has managed to pick up hundreds of migrants over the last few weeks, transporting 82 to Italy in one trip during the middle of last month.

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