Italy: Migrants stranded at Italian-French border as Red Cross centre remains closed

Migrants are stuck in Ventimiglia, coastal town next to the Italian-French border, as France keep rejecting hundreds of people every day and the Roja Camp, the Red Cross migrant reception centre set up to deal with the emergency remains closed over COVID-19 fears. As seen on Thursday, migrants were walking along the highway and carrying belongings on the beach. «The problem is that [the Roja Camp is] the only facility that could accommodate these migrants in our province, not only for those requesting asylum but also for those who want to go to other countries, offering legal counselling. There are no other facilities like that in our province,» a volunteer said, adding that «the situation is really desperate.» The French military have been intercepting the migrants across the Alps and returning them to Italy on daily basis. According to local reports, on Monday alone, more than 140 got caught and many spent the night in French containers, without access to water or food. Another volunteer said that «the border closure is completely useless because after enduring a risky and suffering journey to get here, the migrants have no problem in overcoming a closed border, so they would do it anyway by crossing via the highway or the mountains in the so-called step of death, in which many have also lost their lives throughout the years.» The Red Cross Roja centre opened in 2016 has been closed now for five months. Imperia province authorities have stated that the camp is permanently shutting down on Friday and the 30 migrants who are living inside will be transferred to another «reception centre» in the region.

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