The Immigrants and the refugees at Lampedusa totaling 3,800 today, it was announced by the competent authorities. Since last night, nine more boats with about 400 people on board have arrived at the island. In the meantime, the operation of transporting the arrivals continues, with ships chartered by the Italian government, to Sicily and from there to residence centers located in all regions of the country. According to the forecasts of the prefecture of Akraganta, by this evening it is possible that around 2,000 more people have been transferred to Sicily.

Water and food are shared, largely thanks to the enormous effort made by the Italian Red Cross. At the same time, in order to manage the whole situation, men and women of the Civil Protection, the carabinieri and the police have been mobilized.

The most critical phase continues to be that of distributing the food, with irritation and tensions due to the long wait under the sun. “We have only one hope left: that they will not leave us alone. We have taught humanity lessons to the whole world, but what is happening these days requires a more effective response to the phenomenon,” said the mayor of Lampedusa, Filippo Manino.

Yesterday, Thursday, in the evening, many residents of the island took part in a litany in memory of the five-month-old baby who died of drowning, two days ago, when he slipped from his mother’s arms, a short distance from the port .


Record arrivals of immigrants to the Italian island

A major operation by Italian authorities is underway to transport thousands of migrants who have flooded the small island of Lampedusa to Sicily and mainland Italy this week. The arrival of nearly 10,000 people from North Africa who crossed the central Mediterranean towards Europe between Monday and Thursday created suffocating conditions on the Italian island of 7,000 inhabitants.


The reception centre, built to house fewer than 400 people, was overwhelmed. Men, women and children were forced to sleep in the open, on makeshift beds covered with survival blankets.

Due to lack of space in the reception center, hundreds of people, among them very young children, were forced to sleep in the open, on the streets, sometimes accepting the generosity of the residents who brought them food and water.

Favorable weather conditions have pushed large numbers of migrants out to sea in recent days: 5,000 people landed on Italian shores on Tuesday, almost exclusively in Lampedusa, and around 3,000 on Wednesday, according to Italy’s interior ministry.

According to Matteo Villa, of the ISPI centre, the number of arrivals within 48 hours is an “absolute record”.

The Italian Red Cross, which runs the Lampedusa reception center, is “going above and beyond,” its president, Rosario Vlastro, said in a statement.

The community of Lampedusa declared a state of emergency and tension prevailed at the Red Cross food distribution center on Wednesday.

Less than 150 kilometers from the Tunisian coast, Lampedusa is one of the first stops for migrants crossing the central Mediterranean.

2,000 dead at sea

In the historic center of Lampedusa, an AFP photographer met young migrants, some eating ice cream. Many say they are hungry and have no money, so some restaurants refuse them entry.

However, other restaurants on the island offer free food, while residents and tourists pay for their meals.

Most of the migrants are pulled from boats at sea by the coast guard and taken to Lampedusa.

However, many lose their lives at sea: according to the International Organization for Migration, more than 2,000 lost their lives this year in the maritime area between North Africa, Malta and Italy.

The last victim was a five-month-old baby. He fell into the sea on Wednesday morning during a rescue operation off Lampedusa.

For years, the island’s reception center has been unable to cope with the influx. Humanitarian organizations report a lack of water, food and medical care.

Italy accuses its European partners of not mobilizing sufficiently to help it manage migration flows.

Germany announced this week that it would no longer accept migrants from Italy, and France announced it was sending aid to tackle illegal immigration at its border with Italy.

About 5,000 people are to be transferred to Sicily where larger reception centers are operating.

European aid

The Italian government recently released 45 million euros to help Lampedusa manage the situation.

But Prime Minister Georgia Meloni, who was elected a year ago promising to end mass immigration, is asking for help from the European Union.

Brussels is “in close contact” with Rome about the situation, a European Commission spokesman assured, clarifying that Italy has already received 14 million euros from European funds to deal with the situation.

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, head of the anti-immigration League, said he sees these mass arrivals as “an act of war” against Italy.

The left-wing opposition takes an ironic stance towards the failure of the Meloni-Salvini policy, which they had promised during the 2022 election campaign to “stop” migrant boats.

Marion Marechal, head of the French Reconquête party, which supports Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, is expected in Lampedusa today.

“Lampedusa is not only the border of Italy, but of the whole of Europe,” she declared before her departure.

Since the beginning of the year, 124,000 migrants have reached Italian shores, compared to 65,000 during the same period last year.

However, the numbers have not yet surpassed those of 2016, when 181,000 people, including large numbers of Syrians trying to escape the war, reached Italy.