More than 700 migrants arrived at the port of the Italian island of Lampedusa last night. 686 of them were on a fishing boat and another 70 migrants were on four small boats.
Migrants are undergoing a “medical examination” in Lampedusa, as from tomorrow they are likely to be isolated due to the coronavirus. According to an Italian, the large fishing boat left from Libya.
The authorities fear that more immigrants will follow. The mayor of Lampedusa told Italian media that after a few days of bad weather, the boats are now back again, because the sea is calm.
The last time a large ship reached Lampedusa was at the end of August. Then 538 migrants arrived on the island. These were all people who had been mistreated in Libyan camps. It is being investigated whether this also applies to people who have now arrived.
Most of the large ships that dock in Italy come from western Libya, with the crossing to Lampedusa being the shortest. Since last summer, human traffickers have also been using a different route, with the border area with Egypt as a starting point.
“There is no doubt that we are facing a changing strategy of traffickers, which must be watched,” said the mayor of Lampedusa. Italian media. He is asking for more support from the Italian government and from the European Union.
More immigrants than last year
According to Italian Interior Ministry figures, 44,778 migrants have arrived in Italy by boat since January, compared to 27,517 in the same period in 2020 – when fewer people crossed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
11,000 people died at the crossing, double the number of dead last year.
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