Friday, August 29, 2014

HELP AT LAST?

On Tuesday I reported that Mare Nostrum operatives had rescued 73 people and recovered 18 bodies from a migrant boat which had got into trouble off Lampedusa on Saturday night. The poor souls who lost their lives were thought to have died from asphyxia but, even more horrifically, it now emerges that some of them had cranial and spinal fractures which would indicate that they had been hit with metal bars and survivors are saying that this happened as they were embarking in Libya. Investigations continue as I write.

There has, however, been one heartening story from Pozzallo where, among 439 migrants arriving on Wednesday, were a young girl and her beautiful, white cat. The two were separated upon landing despite the girl's protests, for the cat had to be taken to a veterinary centre to be medically checked and vaccinated and it has to be said that, following the ordeal of the journey, puss was not happy either. His owner is hoping to get to Germany where she has relatives and everyone is hoping that her feline friend will be able to accompany her. I somehow think that Italian officials will do their best to ensure that this happens.

A total of 800 migrants were brought to Sicilian ports during Wednesday and 546 more were saved by Mare Nostrum operatives in the Sicilian Channel during the night. Seven people traffickers were arrested and helpfully presented evidence against themselves in the form of selfies taken during the journey.  [This is not the first time this has happened.]  Sadly, the 24 bodies recovered from the wreck of a fishing boat south of Lampedusa on Tuesday were brought to the Port of Augusta.  

Wednesday was also the day when Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano met European Home Affairs Commisssioner Cecilia Malmström and it has been agreed that a new Frontex operation will, from November, complement what Italy is doing. Commissioner Malmström's  press release on the meeting can be read here.  As she says, the success of such a joint operation will depend upon the willingness of all member states to contribute and Italy, as the current holder of the EU presidency, is expected to be instrumental in finding funding solutions. Let us hope that this is the help that Italy has been requesting for so long.

2 comments:

Patricia Edie said...

The numbers you cite are so difficult to conceptualize! We who live safely and well in our homes have no idea of the struggle of others. Here in the US we have women and children crossing our borders with Mexico. So sad. ..

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hello, Patricia. I agree - it is very difficult to imagine and these numbers are only the migrants that we know about. It is certainly a sad situation everywhere.

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