Tag Archives: Sicily

COVI19: Italian military to control migrants

The Italian government will send soldiers to Sicily to stop recently arrived migrants leaving holding centers after a raft of breakouts in recent days, including some by people who had been quarantined to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The government ensured citizens and toursists none of the escapees had tested positive for the virus and that most had been caught soon after breaking out of the facilities.

But the breakouts are adding to unease over rising numbers of migrants who have made their way across the Mediterranean in recent weeks. Italy largely tamed the virus after one of the longest and strictest lockdowns among Western countries. Everyday life is returning to something approaching normalcy. A requirement to wear masks in enclosed places is one of the few hints the virus is still circulating.

So far in July, 5,583 migrants have arrived in Italy, almost five times as in the same month last year, though fewer than in the crush who came during the height of the European migrant crisis. So far this year, around 12,500 have arrived, compared with about 180,000 who came in 2016 alone.

The government now plans to make it all but impossible for new migrants to break free from their initial quarantine by confining them for two weeks on a large ship that will lie off the southern coast of Sicily before transferring them to migrant centers on land. It isn’t yet clear when the ship will be in place and, meanwhile, migrants centers have filled beyond their capacity in recent days. Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese has promised to transfer 500 migrants from Sicily to other parts of Italy by July 28.

The government has assigned soldiers to prevent migrants leaving the holding centers. The first soldiers were due to arrive in the area on Tuesday and their numbers will eventually reach about 400, according to an Interior Ministry official.

Italy eventually slowed the initial flow of migrants by striking an agreement with authorities in Libya, the main point of departure, to fund and train the Libyan coast guard along with the European Union.

From January to July this year, 4,537 Tunisians reached Italy, more than five times the number by the same timline last year.

Italy: 150 migrants landed at night

There were four migrant landings overnight at Lampedusa bringing a total to more than 150 migrants onto the island between Sicily and Libya, ANSA news agency reports. Migrant hotspot of the island has been already so full that the coronavirus checks were carried out on the harbour side.

In spite coronavirus pandemic the flows of migrant have not decreased, but started to grow following season opportunities in the calm sea. Monday May 4 arrivals were preceeded by the others in Italy and Spain, alltogether 300 migrant left Libyan coast last weekend to reach European coasts.

Matteo Salvini, the leader of Lega party has claimed the operataions are conducted by Soros-backed NGO lawyers, who are helping migrants from North Africa to reach Europe, and claim asylum there.

Concerns are also growing among aid agencies and service providers about the potential impact of COVID-19 pandemic on displaced people in Africa. Africa hosts more than 25.2 million refugees and internally displaced people. Most African refugee appeals are chronically underfunded and most displaced people are hosted in poor countries with already under-resourced health systems.

Africa houses four of the world’s six largest refugee camps (in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia). These camps are vulnerable accommodations for transmission of the coronavirus. They are overcrowded and lack of basic sanitary facilities as water, hygiene facilities, and products.

Prosecutor orders seizure of Open Arms vessel

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (Socialist) has sent a vessel to escort Open Arms from the surroundings of Lampedusa to Palma, Mallorca. This gesture has been intended to end standoff between the Italian Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini (Lega), and the NGO, transporting migrants from Libyan coast to Italy.

Salvini vowed to upgrade the problem of the flows of illegal immigration from Africa to the level of the EU, pointing out that the Dublin regulation is not sustainable any more, and calling the other EU member-states to take their fair share participating in relocation plans for African migrants.

Meanwhile he prosecutor’s office of Agrigento (Sicily) rules the immediate landing of all persons on board of Open Arms vessel in the port of Lampedusa and the provisional seizure of the ship.
Finally, the nightmare is over and the 83 people on board will receive immediate assistance on land” wrote NGO for the Twitter micro blog.

However the Italian government expects the EU member-states, which made the pledges, to offer their hospitality to the migrants, allowing the relocation of some of the arrived Africans. All of them claiming asylum, and some of them have already declared themselves as minors to get ashore, but almost immediately Salvini revealed eight persons misled the authorities about their age, and in reality the “boys” were young men around 30.

Joining the international pressure on Italian government, the president of the European Parliament David Sassolidemanded to end the standoff, and allow the 83 African migrants to land in Lampedusa.

 

Nigerian drug gang arrested in Sicily asylum

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said in a radio interview on RTL that the government will close the Cara asylum seeker centre in Mineo, Sicily, by the end of this year. “The bigger the centres are, the easier it is for criminals to infiltrate,” Salvini said.

A gang of Nigerian drug dealers based at the Cara di Mineo (Catania) and practicing Mafia methods were dismantled thanks to law enforcement and the judiciary. “For my part, I repeat the commitment to empty it by the end of this year“, he added.

At Cara di Mineo asylum centre police arrested 19 false asylum seekers who belonged to the Nigerian drug mafia.

 

 

 

 

Seniors welcome to Italian ‘fiscal paradise’

The project of attracting EU senior citizens to Italian southern regions has been proposed by  Lega, the Right wing party ascending power, led by Matteo Salvini, who intends to reverse population decline, offering tax free decade to Europeans, settling in economically fragile areas.

Lega party proposes effective measures to reverse the chronic population decline in traditionally poorer regions of the country, suffering from economic stagnation and high employment by attracting Europeans to settle there promising liberation from tax burdens for 10 years.

The pilot-project will initially focus on three  regions suffering population decline –Sardinia,  Sicily and Calabria.

“We think it could appeal to foreigners – Italy is a beautiful country,” said Alberto Brambilla, economic adviser to Matteo Salvini, now the interior minister and head of leader of of the party.

“We’re trying to provide an incentive for the transfer of older people (towards the south),” Mr Brambilla, who came up with the idea, told La Repubblica newspaper.

The scheme will be open not only to Italians but to the EU citizens, however the seniors remain the major target group of the project.

Sicily

 

 

Flows of migrants continue to stream to Italy

Diciotti Italian coast guard vessel arrived in the Sicilian port of Catania with 932 migrants and two bodies on board.

Another rescue ship is waiting off the coast of Libya for instructions on where it should go transport migrants.

The Diciotti was part of seven operations organised by the European Union to pick up migrants from the Mediterranean Sea.

Diciotti has dropped off some migrants in Lampedusa, apparently those who required urgent medical care, including pregnant women and a minor.

The operation take place in the aftermath of  the argument between Italy and Malta over NGO #Aquarius vessel, with 600 illegal migrants on board, who wished to disembark in Italy, but were repelled by Italian authorities, in a move to resist illegal mass migration from Africa.