Friday, June 18, 2021

Italy at crisis point as Mediterranean migrant numbers surge nine-fold

 Italy’s government is under huge pressure to staunch the arrivals of migrants from the coast of North Africa as the country recorded a nine-fold increase in the number of asylum seekers reaching its shores since 2019.

The Telegraph

Latest figures show the migration landscape shifting, with many more attempts to reach Spain and Italy than Greece, which has adopted hardline policies.

It came as at least four people died, including a woman believed to be pregnant and an eight-year-old boy, and another four were missing after a migrant boat overturned off Lanzarote in the Canary Islands.

The vessel was carrying 49 people when it hit a rocky area just off the island's northern shores, with rescuers pulling 41 people to safety, emergency services said.

So far this year, more than 18,000 migrants and refugees have landed in Italy after crossing Meditarranean fromLibya and Tunisia.That compares to 5,700 in the same period last year and just 2,100 in the corresponding period in 2019.

So many migrants are reaching Italian soil that the country “risks becoming a sieve,” said Matteo Salvini, the leader of the hard-Right League party, who has repeatedly criticised the prime minister despite being a member of his coalition.

He called for “immediate intervention” to tackle the exodus from North Africa, which has resulted in 77,000 migrants being accommodated in Italian reception centres.

Like its predecessors, the coalition government led by Mr Draghi is frustrated that the rest of the EU is offering little solidarity in terms of accepting migrants and refugees for resettlement.

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