The bodies of eight people, including a pregnant woman, were discovered aboard a boat off the Italian island of Lampedusa, local authorities announced on Friday (February 3rd).
“There are forty-two survivors, including two pregnant women,” Filippo Mannino, mayor of Lampedusa, told Agence France-Presse:
“I’ve lost count of the dead. I have been mayor for six months and I have already taken delivery of at least forty deaths. It is not normal. Almost every week we recover corpses. The situation is getting really dramatic. Europe must do something, the government must do something. »
Immigration and the management of illegal arrivals will be on the agenda of the next extraordinary summit of the European Union, scheduled for February 9 and 10.
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Five thousand arrivals since the beginning of the year
The island of Lampedusa, located a hundred kilometers east of the Tunisian coast, is the first gateway to Europe for migrants arriving from North Africa. In 2022, 105,000 people entered Italy illegally and nearly 5,000 arrived there since the start of the year, a figure up sharply compared to the last two years, according to the Ministry of the Interior.
The Italian government, formed in October by Giorgia Meloni, leader of Italy’s far-right Fratelli d’Italia party, is fighting by all means against illegal arrivals and has insisted on putting this issue on the agenda of the summit . Rome hopes in particular to obtain an automatic redistribution of new arrivals, an idea which is coming up against strong resistance from many EU member states.
In an attempt to at least curb arrivals, the government adopted a law in early January requiring NGOs trying to rescue would-be exiles to immediately report their rescues so that a port of disembarkation can be assigned to them. He is often far from the place of the rescue, which wastes a lot of their time.
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