The boats carrying refugees and migrants are arriving in waves in the last few hours on the island of Lampedusa, south of Sicily. Italy’s southernmost island is experiencing ever-increasing migration flows, with local officials describing a “dramatic situation”.

The daily number of migrant boats arriving on the island of Lampedusa has surpassed the previous record of 63 since October. Today it is expected to approach or even exceed 80, local police chief Emmanuele Ricifari told Reuters news agency earlier. The island’s reception and identification center (hotspot) is crowded with around 2,800 refugees and migrants, when its capacity is only 400. Another 300 have been transferred to other parts of the island.

All migrants are to be transferred to Sicily in the near future in order to decongest Lampedusa and make room for future arrivals. “The situation is really dramatic,” emphasized the regional governor, Filippo Romano.

“It is possible that we will reach 100 arrivals today, the island cannot withstand such numbers,” Mayor Filippo Mannino told the Andkronos news agency.

Since the beginning of the year, some 118,500 boatloads of migrants have arrived in Italy, according to interior ministry figures. This number is almost double that of the corresponding period last year (64,529).

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who was elected last year on a pledge to crack down on irregular immigration, has failed to curb migrant flows from the coast of Africa.