About 50 boats full of people arrived last weekend on the island of Lampedusa, where authorities fear health and safety crises due to the congestion of the camp, news agencies reported on Sunday.
As usual, the arrival of migrants on the island of southern Italy peaked again over the weekend.
More than a thousand arrived at once, including the second most populous group registered since the beginning of the year, including 539 people who crossed the sea in a twenty-two-meter boat. They were transferred seven miles from shore to the Italian Navy ship Diciotti, which transported them to the port of Lampedusa.
Most migrants came from Bangladesh, Syria and Morocco.
Sicilian prosecutor Luigi Patronaggio, who is investigating the circumstances of the migrants’ arrival, said the movement of a group of more than 500 people indicated organized immigration: migrants from different areas were held in North African camps and then deported from the Mediterranean.
Matteo Salvini, leader of the anti-immigration League party, welcomed the fact that the prosecution had “finally noticed” that the migration was being driven by criminal organizations.
“Who would have thought? It’s not a migration, it’s an invasion!” former interior minister Salvini wrote on his Facebook page. Salvini will have to defend himself in a Sicilian court in mid-September over the previous arrest of a group of migrants during his tenure as minister.
Salvini has announced that operating the four quarantine vessels set up in the southern islands, on which migrants will be placed to screen for positive coronavirus infections, will cost €50,000 per day. The right-wing politician says the costs should be charged to the current interior minister, Luciana Lamorgese, and the left-wing Democratic Party (PD).
The Lampedusa and Sicilian authorities will discuss the health and safety risks of migration on Monday. Since the beginning of the year, more than 38,000 illegal immigrants have arrived, the vast majority on the southern shores. In August alone, 9,000 arrived, up from just over 5,000 in the same month last year.
The number of people staying at the Migredusa migrant center, designed to house 250, has reached 1,400 over the weekend.
In an interview with MTI on Friday, Mayor of Lampedusa Salvatore Martello stressed the responsibility of the European Union, as “only the refugee crisis in Afghanistan is currently seen as an urgent problem while turning a blind eye to mass migration in the Mediterranean”.
Title image: A group thought to be migrants from Tunisia aboard a precarious wooden boat waiting to be assisted by a team of the Spanish NGO Open Arms, around 20 miles southwest from the Italian island of Lampedusa, in Italian SAR zone, Thursday July 29, 2021. The NGO assisted more than 170 people who arrived next to the Italian island on board six different wooden dinghies, before the Italian authorities took them to land.(AP Photo/Santi Palacios)