Lampedusa collapsed due to the arrival of some 6,000 African immigrants in just 24 hours

In Lampedusa They are overwhelmed. Arrival in just 24 hours around 6,000 immigrantsbreaking all records for illegal entry into the country, has plunged the small Italian island into chaos, with the police powerless to contain the situation and appeals from Mayor Filippo Mannino to the Government of Giorgia Meloni calling for the intervention of the army.

The massive and continuous influx of immigrants for hours has caused the port of Lampedusa, the Punta Favalorothere have been huge crowds that were barely contained, with struggles and moments of tensionby a cordon of agents from the Guardia di Finanza (Italian border police).

Lampedusa It is the closest island to the African continent (124 kilometers) and has a population that barely exceeds 6,000 inhabitants. The arrival of a similar number of immigrants has plunged the town into chaos, already usually overwhelmed by migrants. uncontrolled flows of immigrants that arrive from the coasts of Tunisia and Libya. A flow that is accentuated in summer due to the improvement in weather conditions. But there had never been an arrival of around 6,000 in just 24 hours.

A single reception center with 400 beds

The island has a single primary reception center. When immigrants arrive on the island they are normally taken to that center, in more than precarious and overcrowded conditions since only It has beds for around 400 immigrants.

From there, immigrants must be transferred as quickly as possible to other reception and identification centers in the country, generally in Sicily (south) such as Porto Empedocle. But this time the local authorities find themselves unable to organize the transfer in a more or less orderly manner, so Mayor Mannino calls on Meloni to take “emergency measures”like the intervention of the Army.

“You’ve never seen anything like it, with dozens and dozens of small boats escorted or attached to the rescue units in front of the port, and others who manage to arrive directly,” said Mannino, for whom these are “figures that are no longer sustainable on this island. “We need the Defense to intervene.”

According to the authorities, on Tuesday 110 boats loaded with immigrants arrived in Lampedusa, and from midnight until Wednesday morning another 23 boats with a thousand more immigrants had been recorded.

Double the number of immigrants than in 2022

Although the numbers are constantly evolving, so far this year 123,863 immigrants have landed in Italy, almost double that of the 65,517 of the same period in 2022 and triple that of 2021 (41,286), according to data from the Ministry of the Interior updated today, EFE reports.

These figures not only call into question Lampedusa’s reception system, which has completely collapsed, but also strains relations in the EU. France has reinforced its borders to close the passage to immigrants arriving in Italy, while Germany has also postponed the transfer of asylum seekers until further notice, in response to the Italian refusal to receive the immigrants it returns to Italy, in compliance with the Dublin Regulation.

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