WORLD / EUROPE
Over 1,000 thousand migrants land on Italy's Lampedusa
Over 1,000 migrants land on Italy’s Lampedusa
Published: May 10, 2021 07:13 PM
More than 1,400 migrants arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa overnight Saturday and during the day on Sunday, media reports said.

The mass landings sparked calls from far-right politicians for action to stem the flow, amid fresh moves by Italian authorities against the rescue boats who operate in the central Mediterranean. Some 15 boats arrived on Lampedusa from Saturday night onwards, Italian news agencies reported late Sunday - one of them with almost 400 people on board, including 24 women and children, of different nationalities.

The arrivals were condemned by Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right League party who is facing trial in Sicily for refusing to allow migrants to disembark while he was interior minister in August 2019. "With millions of Italians in difficulty, we cannot think of thousands of illegal immigrants," he said, demanding a meeting with Prime Minister Mario Draghi to discuss the issue.

Charity Alarm Phone meanwhile appealed for help to pick up five boats carrying more than 400 people in distress in Maltese waters, warning: "The situations on board are critical... Rescue is needed now!"

Italy is a prime entry point for Europe-bound migrants, and more than half a million people have landed on its shores since the start of 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The stretch of water between Sicily and North Africa is also one of the world's deadliest migration routes. Between January 1 and April 21, 8,604 people arrived in Italy and another 65 in Malta, while 359 people died, the IOM says.
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