Over 8,500 migrants arrived in a week, overwhelming the island.
Italy’s Prime Minister highlights Europe’s capacity to face big challenges.
Lampedusa’s migration center meant for 400 is now holding 1,500 migrants.
The European Union has unveiled an emergency plan to assist Italy in managing the influx of migrants, following a record number of arrivals on the island of Lampedusa in the past week. This surge in asylum seekers has reignited a contentious debate within Europe about sharing responsibility for the tens of thousands of migrants who reach the continent annually.
During a visit to Lampedusa, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen emphasized that irregular migration is a challenge for all of Europe and requires a collective European response. She presented a 10-point plan aimed at aiding Rome in addressing the crisis.
Over the course of a week, approximately 8,500 people, surpassing the entire local population of the island, arrived on Lampedusa in about 200 boats, according to the UN migration agency. Lampedusa, Italy’s southernmost island, has historically been a landing point for migrant boats from North Africa. However, this recent influx has overwhelmed the island’s migration center, which was designed to accommodate fewer than 400 individuals.
Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, speaking at a press conference alongside von der Leyen on Lampedusa, expressed their commitment to addressing the crisis, emphasizing that the future of Europe hinges on its ability to confront significant challenges.
The Italian Red Cross, responsible for the overcrowded Lampedusa migration center, reported that despite a capacity for just 400 migrants, around 1,500 remained there. Transfers of migrants to Sicily and the mainland have struggled to keep pace with the ongoing arrivals, although additional transfers were expected to take place soon, according to the Red Cross. The situation underscores the pressing need for coordinated efforts and solutions to manage the migration challenges facing Europe.
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