The situation of migrants on the Italian island of Lampedusa, in the middle of the Mediterranean, is on the verge of its breaking point as more than 1,000 migrants from Libya arrived in the past three days.
On Saturday, about 100 people who came in small boats landing on the island during the night. This is only the latest on the waves of migrants that continue to dock on the island and are being placed in an already overcrowded holding center.
According to officials, the immigrants that arrived from Libya either managed to avoid being detected by Libyan coast guards while traveling of those who were rescued at sea, Reuters reported.
The flock of immigrants followed the arrival of more than 300 others who also came to the island between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
In a statement, Lampedusa's Mayor Salvatore Martello said that their current situation is now unmanageable and is an emergency. He also referred to the conditions of the migrants as "explosive," and stressed that if the government still refuses to declare a state of emergence on the island, he would do so.
While hundreds of people have arrived in boats, most of them were only carrying six to eight people. They were then sent to the "hotspot," the holding center on the island which now houses about 10 times its capacity since it is only designed to hold 100 people.
Following the arrival of hundreds of people, local officials of Lampedusa have already ordered that about 300 of the migrants be transferred to a separate holding center in Sicily.
Martello also stated that the hotspot is no longer able to accommodate migrants. He added that the mayor should not handle the responsibility for the situation, so do the municipal administration and the citizens of the island.
Moreover, he said that the wave of incoming migrants seems to be impossible. He also added that despite already transferring some of them to a different place, more people keep on arriving as they leave. Thus, making the hotspot overcrowded.
The island of Lampedusa is only about 100km away from the coast of Tunis.
Italy To Talk To Tunisian Authorities To Work a Strategy
Meanwhile, according to Arab News, Italy's Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese is set to travel to Tunisia in order to create a strategy with Tunisian authorities in preventing migrants from leaving the country and going to Italy.
Furthermore, Forza Italia senator Anna Maria Bernini stated that the Tunisian government should cooperate and so something about the current situation. She also added that while it is understood while people leave Libya due to the absence of peace, Tunisia is safe and if the migration does not subside, Italy would explode.
On the other hand, the Italian Foreign Ministry has already allocated funding in order to support Tunisia's International Organization for Migration. This move is expected to help in the voluntary repatriation of migrants.