Italy declares emergency amid surge in irregular migrant arrivals

(Update: adds state of emergency)

Rome, Apr 11 (EFE).- The Italian government led the far-right prime minister Giorgia Meloni declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in response to thousands of irregular migrants landing in the country in recent days, Italian media reported.

The measure, proposed by the Minister of Civil Protection and Maritime Policies, Nello Musumeci, will be implemented throughout the country amid the surge in the number of migrants arriving through the Mediterranean.

The Italian coastguard intercepted two fishing boats carrying a total of 1,200 migrants near Sicily and Calabria in the south, following the rescue of nearly 2,000 people who have crossed the Mediterranean since Friday.

The first boat overloaded with some 800 migrants was rescued more than 120 miles southeast of the Sicilian city of Syracuse, according to the coastguard.

The second vessel carrying 400 people called Alarm Phone, an alert service for migrants in distress at sea, and was intercepted by the Italian ship Diciotti off the coast of Calabria.

About 1,700 migrants were rescued off the island of Lampedusa in the past 48 hours, according to local media.

In Catania, meanwhile, two buildings were being set up to accommodate some 700 migrants saved in the Ionian sea in recent hours.

Italian deputy prime minister and leader of the right-wing populist Lega party, Matteo Salvini, said ahead of the cabinet meeting on Tuesday that Italy is “absolutely incapable” of managing “a thousand arrivals a day” and that “it is crucial that Europe wakes up and intervenes”.

“It has been talking for years, but has never lifted a finger, and it is time to show that there is a community, a Union, and that solidarity is not only the responsibility of Italy, Spain, Greece or Malta,” Salvini said.

“We are absolutely incapable of supporting them economically, culturally and socially,” he added.

Some 28,000 migrants have arrived in Italy during the first three months of 2023, 300% more than the 6,800 recorded in 2022. EFE


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