Monday, June 30, 2014

SUMMER TIDES - 4: A TRAGEDY

This is being reported by the world's media this morning but I'll try to give you the view from here:

In one of several migrant rescue operations carried out by the Italian Navy last night, 27 - 30 migrants were found dead in the hold of a fishing boat carrying up to 600 people, including two pregnant women. It is thought that the migrants died of asphyxiation. By the time the naval ship Grecale arrived on the scene, there was nothing the personnel could do for these poor souls and, because of the position in the boat that the bodies were in, only two were transferred to the larger ship. The boat, carrying the living and the dead, is being towed to Pozzallo as I write. 

La Repubblica is reporting that 919 migrants have arrived in Pozzallo overnight and many more in other Sicilian ports. Over this weekend alone, 5,000 migrants were rescued at sea in the Mare Nostrum operation and it is estimated that 60,000 have arrived in Sicily since the beginning of this year. The possibility of 100,000 arrivals by the end of the year has not been ruled out.

The Mayor of Pozzallo, Luigi Ammatuna, a man who has always expressed sympathy for and solidarity with the migrants, has said that the situation has become unmanageable, as the town's Cpa [centre for migrant arrivals] is full and the administration is having to rely on other institutions to accommodate them. Even the cemetery is full and there are now only two mortuary cold chambers available. The Prefect of Ragusa has promised that a plan will be put into operation to relieve the pressure on Pozzallo.

Lega Nord Federal secretary Matteo Salvini has said this morning that Premier Renzi and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano have "blood on their hands" because the Mare Nostrum operation is encouraging migrants to leave Africa.

Italy's calls for international help in the migration crisis continue to fall on largely deaf ears. Frontex [the European Border Agency] is to be strengthened but there has been no new EU agreement on asylum, as requested by Italy. The Italian government believes that the Dublin Regulation, under which the country of arrival is responsible for any asylum application by a migrant, puts too much pressure on border areas. Italy has also suggested that migrants be processed whilst still in Africa.

As politicians score points, let us remember the migrants who lost their lives last night whilst in search only of the rights and comforts that most of us enjoy without question.


Update at 15.09: A video just published by La Repubblica shows that the 600 migrants were jammed into a space of 30 metres on the fishing boat.

3 comments:

rosaria williams said...

The tragedy is so big and uncontrollable, beyond anyone's imagination. Thanks, Pat, for keeping your public alerted to this.

Sabine said...

I initially came to your blog because I love Sicily. Thanks for all the recipes!

I am also grateful that you write about this situation.
Someone recently asked what if these boats carried poor lost puppy dogs? Would we not rush out and save them?
The German minister for the Interior said in parliament last week that taking in "too many" refugees would result in the general population becoming tired of compassion.
Hearing this I don't know what has happened to us as humans.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Rosaria. Yes, quite beyond imagination. Even living here, I was shocked by the images in La Repubblica's video. Thanks for your kindness - take care.

Hello, Sabine. I'm glad you like the recipes! You are absolutely right about the puppy dogs and I agree with you about the loss of our humanity.

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