Italy: Mayor says Lamepdusa 'severely under pressure' as more migrant boats arrive

Two more migrant boats originating from North Africa survived the dangerous trip and arrived at the Sicilian island of Lampedusa on Saturday evening. This was followed by another smaller boat arriving on Sunday morning, while the island's reception facility for new arrivals is suffering due overpopulation coupled with coronavirus restrictions and rules. The two boats were instantly given health checks before being transferred to the island's migrant facility where 780 migrants are currently housed. «There is no longer space to put people in the facilities. Therefore we need to hurry up the transfers. After which we will wait for this boat that is arriving at Lampedusa and to completely clear out the facilities so we can have a chance to completely clean up properly because honestly, it's under severe pressure right now,» explained Lampedusa's mayor Salvatore Martello. Approximately 100 migrants are ready to be transferred from the reception facility in the Imbriacola area. They will be sent on a ferry that will arrive at Porto Empedocle on Sunday evening. At the migrant facility, after the three new boats and eventual transfers, 712 migrants will have to remain in the overpopulated centre. «The situation is clear, either we get collaboration from the Tunisian government, in the sense that they start to block these boats directly before they depart. Otherwise the arrivals will continue at this rate for the whole summer,» stated Martello. «Yesterday, speaking with the minister, I asked for another boat on Lampedusa if the arrivals continue at this severely fast rate. The amount of arrivals is bigger than in 2011,» confirmed Martello. In 2011, Lampedusa struggled to deal with the arrival of tens of thousands of migrants throughout the year. By the end of August 2011, 48,000 new migrants had arrived.

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