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'Explosive situation' on Italy's Lampedusa as more migrants arrive

Sep 15, 2023

Rome [Italy], September 15: More than 8,000 boat migrants have landed on Lampedusa since the beginning of the week, leading to chaotic scenes in the Italian island's overcrowded reception centre, Italian media reported on Thursday.
Video clips showed exhausted migrants crowded together under the hot sun facing security forces guarding the gates of the centre. Italian media reports spoke of an "explosive" situation.
Around 5,000 migrants arrived on the island on Tuesday alone. Lampedusa's proximity to the Tunisian port of Sfax just 190 kilometres away has made it a migration hotspot for years. The local council declared a state of emergency on Wednesday evening, but it remained unclear what effect this would have.
Ferries and police boats were to take migrants to Sicily and the Italian mainland on Thursday. Mayor Filippo Mannino has demanded more financial and logistical support from the government in Rome.
There was chaos as food and drink were distributed on Wednesday evening, and migrants had attempted to break through barriers, reports said. On Thursday, paramedics were seen carrying exhausted people out of the centre for treatment.
More migrants have reached Italy by sea so far this year than in the whole of last year. The Italian Interior Ministry has recorded 123,800 people reaching the country by boat since January, compared to 65,500 last year. The record number of 181,000 recorded in 2016 is set to be surpassed this year.
The reception centre in the centre of the island currently holds 6,800 migrants, a figure that exceeds the official population of Lampedusa and the neighbouring island of Linosa of under 6,500
Source: Qatar Tribune