Residents of Lampedusa, situated in the Mediterranean, are expressing growing concerns as the number of incoming migrants has doubled over the past year.
»The situation is unbearable, also because all these boats that sink have engines, they are all boats that use gasoline or diesel or oil, in short, there is a considerable level of pollution. Alone and isolated, in the true sense of the word, » said one local.
Footage captured on Monday features crowds of asylum seekers, disembarking from an Italian Coast Guard vessel.
»We must stop it or go on some strike because they have to meet our needs, in short. Anyway, it’s bad and the situation of illegal migrants. We are just collapsing, » expressed another local.
Lampedusa, being geographically closer to Africa than mainland Italy, has become a favoured destination for people smugglers. The island’s migrant detention centre has faced repeated challenges with an overflow of new arrivals, a situation that has become particularly acute during this summer.
Statistics from the Italian interior ministry reveal that over 93,000 undocumented individuals have already arrived in Italy via the Mediterranean Sea this year, more than doubling the 45,000 arrivals reported during the same period in 2022.
Meanwhile, Emanuele Ricifari, the Police Commissioner of Agrigento, highlighted the immense strain on the island’s resources due to the high flow of migrants. He acknowledged the efforts of law enforcement and expressed the need for recognition of their tireless work.
»The effort that the State is making is extraordinary and I believe that this must be acknowledged first of all to the population of Lampedusa and then to all the citizens, » he said.
»We do not describe the situation as a collapse, because there is no collapse. We are working at full capacity. They are working on this thing in total, including police and other forces, over 300 people every day. We are no longer talking about collapse because there is no collapse, there is a moment of great commitment, which is different from collapse, » Ricifari continued.
This surge in migration comes despite a Memorandum signed between Tunisia and the European Union aimed at curbing irregular migration from Africa.