Friday, April 11, 2014

SPRING TIDES - 4

Even as I write, migrant boat after migrant boat is heading for Italy from North Africa and last night the Italian Navy and Guardia di Finanza saved a further 800 migrants travelling on rust buckets and dinghies, this time 70 miles off Lampedusa. This was only one of several rescue operations carried out over the last 24 hours and brings the total number of migrants saved by the Italian Navy, Coast Guard and others involved in Operazione Mare Nostrum to 6,000 since Tuesday and almost 20,000 since October.

In response to criticism of Mare Nostrum - I have personally heard people saying that the operation is encouraging migration because people know they will be saved - the Chief of Staff of the Italian Navy, Admiral Giuseppe De Giorgi, has said that the increased numbers are not due to the military operation but to social and political problems in migrants' countries of origin.  He has also said that the rescues are costing Italy €9 million a month and has voiced the opinion that the EU should send funds rather than more ships. 

Melissa Fleming of UNHCR has today called for more help for Italy from its allies. Meanwhile, Sicilian mayors and regional government representatives have requested an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Renzi and relevant ministers and this is expected to happen on Tuesday or Wednesday next week.

Several people traffickers, some of whom had tried to hide among their former "passengers", have been arrested by Italian police in the last few days.

Sadly, a 20-year-old man from Mali who was rescued on Thursday night has died in hospital in Ragusa.

4 comments:

Francesca Edesia said...

I think no one knows what to do. I feel very sorry for these poor people. The other day Alfano said that 4000 arrived in Sicily, in one day I think.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Francesca. Yes, I feel very sorry for them, too. They are only trying to find a better life.

Caramella said...

I hope they come up with some kind of good solution. It doesn't seem like it though.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I hope sdo too, Caramella.

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