A top interior ministry official has said that an illegal migrant camp in rural Puglia near Borgo Mezzanone will be cleared progressively. The shanty town mainly hosts migrants working as farm hands in the area.
A top interior ministry official in Italy on Monday said that a shanty town in the southern area of Borgo Mezzanone near Foggia will be cleared as part of a program to develop the area and host immigrants working for local farms.
"We have calculated how many people are in real need of accommodation and we have planned a project to develop the area with 3.5 million euros in funding," Michele Di Bari, the head of the ministry's department for civil liberties and immigration, said on November 25.
The operation was discussed during a meeting at the prefecture in Foggia, which was held to discuss the future of the local CARA center for asylum seekers as well as the nearby shanty town. The illegal camp mainly hosts migrants working as farm hands who are often exploited by gang masters. In April 2019, a migrant died in a fire in one of the shacks.
Program to relocate migrants
Some 50 migrants currently live at the CARA hosting facility while over 1,000 are living in the shanty town. Di Bari told reporters on Monday that Borgo Mezzanone was able to host 2,000 people 20 years ago. "The prefecture of Foggia is planning programs to give those places back to the entire province" by reallocating migrants across a wider area, the official explained.
On November 25, Puglia's Governor Michele Emiliano expressed concern for security in Foggia "where the countryside is often abandoned" and where there is "not enough surveillance," calling for boosted efforts to "reorganize security patrols."
Emiliano met with Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese at the prefecture of Bari on Monday to sign an agreement to promote security in the area of Bari. Emiliano praised efforts to crack down on the gang-masters system in the area of Borgo Mezzanone and elsewhere. "An extraordinary job was done in Foggia to fight organized crime," said Emiliano. There are "very complex criminal structures" operating in the area but the "state has reacted and we are now trying to solve one of the greatest scourges, the gang-master system," noted the governor.