Rome (dpa) – More than 2,000 boat migrants arrived in a short time on the small Italian Mediterranean island of Lampedusa – and more boats were expected on Monday. That reports Ansa news agency.
In Italy, emergency calls increased after the number of arrivals tripled compared to the previous year.
On Monday evening, patrol ships picked up hundreds of people from small boats off Lampedusa and brought them ashore. Others made it to the coast themselves, according to Ansa. This means that the number of men, women and children registered on the island has increased with 20 landings within 24 hours to 2,128. Lampedusa is located between North Africa and the main island of Sicily, to which the island belongs administratively. About 6000 people usually live on Lampedusa.
Sicilian regional president Nello Musumeci spoke of a “human tragedy of migrants in the Mediterranean” that went unresolved. Everyone knows that many migrants will die at sea in the coming weeks. “But nobody raises their finger, neither in Rome, nor in Brussels,” he wrote on Facebook. Just over 500 migrants died in the Central Mediterranean this year, according to the UN.
In recent weeks, private rescue workers in the Mediterranean have also noted that a large number of migrants are once again making the dangerous journey to Europe in dinghies and small wooden ships, often from Libya and Tunisia. One reason is the good weather in May with often calm seas, he said.
A total of nearly 12,900 migrants had come to Italy since the start of the year on Monday morning, according to a count by the Ministry of the Interior in Rome. A year ago there were no fewer than 4,180 at a time, a very large number coming from Tunisia, Ivory Coast and Bangladesh. Right-wing parties, including former Home Secretary Matteo Salvini’s co-ruling Lega, warned of “thousands of illegal immigrants” last weekend.
Salvini announced on Sunday evening that he would look for solutions together with Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese. Lamorgese was already in contact with Prime Minister Mario Draghi because of the increase in the number of boat migrants, according to Ansa. Rome is trying to quickly distribute boat migrants within the European Union (EU) to other countries. However, many of these countries oppose it.
On Monday, Sea-Watch private rescuers announced that they feared their ship “Sea-Watch 4” could be detained longer in the port of the Sicilian city of Trapani due to an order from the authorities. Rescue workers arrived there last week with more than 450 boat migrants.