During the night hours of this Saturday and during this Sunday, hundreds of migrants arrived on the Italian coast, mostly from African and Middle Eastern countries. The authorities reported that they found five people dead in a drifting fishing boat. All this in the middle of the electoral campaign of the early elections that, according to experts, could bring the extreme right to power.
This Sunday the non-governmental organization SOS Mediterranée reported that it carried out three rescue operations, initially they found “an overcrowded inflatable boat in danger, in international waters off Libya” 87 people were in it, of which 57 were minors who came without parents or some kind of representative.
In the second action of the NGO, they found 108 people, in this case the majority were women and children who were in another inflatable boat in overcrowded conditions and none of them had life jackets.
“The survivors are exhausted after spending hours at sea in the sun, 195 survivors are now on our ship,” said SOS Mediterranée.
Later they published information on a third rescue in which they stated that they had evacuated 73 people and a one-year-old baby from the sea 37 nautical miles from the Libyan coast, raising the number of survivors to 268 and more than 100 minors alone.
Third rescue: the #OceanViking team evacuated 73 people, incl. a 1 y/o baby, from an unseaworthy rubber boat partially deflated found 37 NM from the Libyan coasts following an alert sent by @alarm_phone.
268 survivors are now onboard, incl. over 100 unaccompanied minors. pic.twitter.com/twd3kfhCMP
— SOS MEDITERRANEE (@SOSMedIntl) July 24, 2022
On the other hand, the German organization Sea Wath, which has been working for two days in the Mediterranean, remained at sea with 439 people rescued.
Earlier the organization denounced that the European Union “would prefer to see these people dead or illegally returned to Libya. Deaths and human rights violations are accepted as measures to seal the European fortress. Let’s tear down those walls, in the Mediterranean and everywhere,” Sea Watch posted on its Twitter account.
? Medical evacuation from the #SeaWatch3! The Italian Coast Guard has brought ashore a heavily pregnant woman accompanied by her husband & a child with severe burns with her parents.
The remaining 439 people are still waiting for a port of safety. pic.twitter.com/DVt68Adqes
— Sea-Watch International (@seawatch_intl) July 24, 2022
This Saturday, 674 migrants alive and five deceased aboard a fishing boat were found by a merchant ship, the Italian coast guard and police, 124 miles off the coast of Calabria, the boot of Italy.
The lifeless bodies were transferred to the hospital morgue in the Sicilian city of Messina, while the survivors were taken to the port cities of Sicily and Calabria on Sunday morning.
Prior to this operation, the authorities rescued several migrants from the water and others who were in boats in precarious conditions. In one of these rescue efforts, they even needed the support of a helicopter belonging to the Catania air base, to transfer and carry out a medical evacuation of a woman.
Since this Saturday, some 522 migrants, mostly Afghans, Somalis, Pakistanis, Sudanese, Ethiopians, Nigerians, Senegalese and Eritreans, have landed on the island of Lampedusa in southern Italy, crowding the refuge center that had already been going through a difficult situation because its ability to reception is for 300 people and currently houses more than 1,200.
Last week the number of people who were in the center exceeded 2,000, so the authorities decided to send an Italian Navy ship to transfer about 600 migrants to other cities.
The reception center faces difficulties due to the lack of government support, according to rescuers it is in a state of abandonment with large amounts of accumulated garbage and overcrowding of people.
More than 150,000 people are expected
The proximity of the island to the African continent makes it the most accessible destination for the arrival of barges with migrants who often arrive directly on the beaches and on other occasions are intercepted by the Coast Guard.
During the summer, the arrival of people increases due to weather conditions, according to the Italian Ministry of the Interior between January 1 and July 22 of this year, more than 34,000 migrants arrived in Italy by crossing the sea, an increase of more 8,500 people compared to the same period of the year in 2021, while in 2020 the figure was around 11,000 people.
“The Mediterranean is becoming the biggest graveyard for the desperate,” the president of the Sicilian region, Nello Musumeci, published in a statement.
According to the International Organization for Migration, the central Mediterranean route is the most dangerous in the world, its investigations indicate that so far this year, approximately 990 people have died or disappeared trying to cross it.
The authorities expect that by 2022 more than 150,000 migrants will arrive through the main routes to Europe as a result of the economic and food difficulties caused by the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
complex political scene
Some politicians have taken advantage of the migratory situation to campaign, one of them is the leader of the far-right League Matteo Salvini, who was already Minister of the Interior in 2018, at which time he took a hard stance against migrants.
The former minister on several occasions prevented the disembarkation of migrants, keeping them at sea, actions that led him to be denounced by human rights organizations, his position does not seem to have changed.
“On September 25, Italians will finally be able to choose change: security, courage and border control will return,” Salvini said.
Early elections in Italy will be held at the end of September, after Prime Minister Mario Draghi resigned last week after the dissolution of the governing coalition that rejected the motion of confidence presented by the ‘premier’, which caused the president, Sergio Mattarella, announced the dissolution of Parliament and called the elections.
With Reuters, AP, EFE and AFP