Lampedusa Island in Italy hit with unprecedented influx of migrant arrivals

Local officials reported on Tuesday that the Italian island of Lampedusa is grappling with an unprecedented influx of boat migrants, labeling the situation as “dramatic.”

Lampedusa, situated at Italy’s southernmost tip and serving as a primary entry point for individuals crossing from North Africa, has consistently been a focal point in Europe’s migration challenge.

The daily count of migrant boats arriving on the island has exceeded the previous record of 63 from last month and is projected to reach approximately 80 by the day’s end, as stated by the local police chief, Emanuele Ricifari, in an interview with media agencies.

He indicated that the “hotspot” reception center on the island currently houses approximately 2,800 migrants, despite having an official capacity of only around 400, with an additional 300 migrants located in other areas of the island.

All the migrants were scheduled for transfer to the larger island of Sicily to alleviate overcrowding and create space for incoming arrivals.

“The situation is really dramatic,” Prefect Filippo Romano, a provincial government official, was quoted as saying by Italy’s ANSA and AGI news agencies.

“We will probably get to 100 landings today, the island can no longer sustain these numbers,” Mayor Filippo Mannino told media.

In total, interior ministry data reveals that approximately 118,500 boat migrants have reached Italy since the beginning of the year, nearly doubling the figure of 64,529 recorded during the same period in 2022.

Despite Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who was elected last year with a commitment to combat irregular immigration, the numbers have not decreased. A combination of crackdowns on migrants in Tunisia and ongoing instability in Libya has resulted in increased sea crossings from North Africa.

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