Number of illegal migrants making landfall in Italy grows

(Photo by STA/XINHUA)

By: V4 Agency

More than 1,500 migrants have reached Italy’s shores in a single day. Most of them were taken to the island of Lampedusa, where their accommodation is causing new challenges.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders) has returned to saving lives at sea around a month ago, chartering its own ship named Geo Barents. As a result, the number of illegal migrants being transported to Italy began to rise. The NGO has shipped 410 irregular migrants to Europe in the past few days alone.

The organisation’s vessel first intended to dock at the port of Malta, but was denied entry by the authorities, so it headed for Italy and ended up on the island of Sicily. Migrants on board have been picked up at four different locations off the coast of Libya.

As the weather improves, a growing number of people are willing to risk the dangerous journey from Libya, as evidenced by this weekend’s figures. NGOs have also become more active, deploying more and more ships to transport the illegal migrants into the EU.

The island of Lampedusa saw some 20 ships reach its shores from dusk till dawn on Saturday, yet again overwhelming the local reception centre which has a capacity to house 250 people. Authorities already began transporting the illegal immigrants to Sicily, where they will be quarantined.

While the NGOs – providing a naval taxi service of sorts – are continuing to transport the illegal migrants to Italy, an egregious attack committed by an illegal migrant has triggered a public outcry of late.

A 26-year-old Nigerian man raped and robbed an 89-year-old woman in Lomazzo, near Milan. He broke into the woman’s house and began searching for valuables in the kitchen. The old lady went downstairs to check the noise and encountered the violent intruder, who dragged her into another room and began to sexually harass her. He left a few minutes later, taking the old lady’s phone with him. Shortly after, the victim paid a visit to one of her children nearby to tell him about the attack.

Her son alerted the police and gave an accurate description, enabling officers to apprehend the assailant in a relatively short amount of time. The attacker was a homeless and unemployed migrant, who lived in a derelict building.

Matteo Salvini also mentioned the incident on social media. He wrote: “I would like to express my solidarity and support to the old lady, who had to experience such a heinous act. This is why we have to close down our ports and accelerate the expulsions.”