Thursday, December 8

New wave of immigrant landings on the Italian coasts

Correspondent in Rome



It is a Christmas of shipwrecks and deaths in the Mediterranean, from the Aegean Sea to the Sicilian Channel, passing through the waters near Libya. Meanwhile, hundreds of people hope to reach the Italian coasts, where landings take place without rest. It is an endless tragedy, with more than 2,500 deaths during the year 2021. Not even bad weather conditions and a rough sea make thousands of people change their minds. immigrants, ready to achieve the European dream. Only yesterday 490 people disembarked in Calabria.

Crossing the Aegean Sea on Christmas Day at least 27 people died in two shipwrecks. In the second, the Greek coast guard recovered 16 bodies, including 12 men, three women and a child, and managed to rescue 63 people when their boat, which was carrying at least 80 immigrants heading to Italy, sank near the island of Paros.

A few hours earlier, 11 bodies had been recovered after the sinking of a ship with a hundred immigrants on board, stranded on an islet in southern Greece.

Continuous are also the departures from Libya, a country that is still mired in endless conflict. In the vicinity of Al-Alous beach, 90 kilometers west of Tripoli, 28 bodies were found after the sinking of their small boat; only three immigrants were saved.

During this year 2021, more than 2,500 immigrants have died in the Mediterranean, according to official figures

All the immigrant victims of these shipwrecks carried out their adventure with the dream of reaching Italy. According to information from the Turkish broadcaster Ert, traffickers in Cesme, a city of 44,000 inhabitants, and Bodrum (33,300), on the western coast of Turkey, are trying new and increasingly dangerous routes to Italy. “In recent days the activity of human traffickers has intensified, piling up dozens of desperate people in boats that do not even have the minimum security requirements, nor are they equipped with life jackets,” claimed the Greek Minister of Maritime Affairs , Giannis Plakiotakis, accusing Ankara of “letting the traffickers act undisturbed”.

Last Saturday, 89 people from Bangladesh, Eritrea, Pakistan and the Gambia landed on the island of Lampedusa, joining 253 others who arrived in three boats on Christmas Eve. Lampedusa’s reception center for immigrants, with capacity for 250 people, has been overwhelmed. To alleviate the situation, 363 people had to be distributed to other centers in Sicily. Meanwhile, Alarm Phone, the phone for migrants in emergency situations, launched an SOS after losing contact with a boat with 25 migrants on board that was adrift 200 miles off the coast of Malta. The Italian coast guard participates in his search.

Southern italy

There is no truce in the ports of southern Italy, in the face of this growing wave of immigration. The rescue ship Sea-Watch 3, under the flag of the Netherlands and owned by the German NGO with the same name, seeks port after having collected, between 24 and 25, a total of 350 migrants in three rescues in the Mediterranean, in just 30 hours, 180 of which on Christmas Day. That same day, the ‘Ocean Viking’ ship of SOS Méditerranée (NGO with associations from France, Italy, Germany and Switzerland) docked in Trapani with 114 immigrants; while the ‘Sea Eye 4’, from the German NGO ‘Sea Eye’, landed 214 people in the Sicilian port of Pozzallo.

Another 100 immigrants arrived at Capo Rizzuto, in Calabria, aboard a sailboat, while on December 24 a boat with 154 people crammed together barely reached Capo di Leuca, in Salento, in the Apulia region.

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