Hundreds of people continue to arrive in boats on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa. In recent days about a thousand migrants, most from Tunisia, have landed on the island.
Around 100 migrants who crossed the Mediterranean in small boats, some carrying as few as eight people, landed on Lampedusa in the early hours of Thursday.
The arrivals brought to nearly 1,000 the number of migrants to reach the island since Wednesday, according to news agency reports. About 15 boats reportedly arrived carrying about 300 people overnight between Wednesday and Thursday.
Officials said the migrants had set off from Libya and were either rescued at sea or managed to avoid detection and reach the island.
After arriving on Lampedusa, the migrants are taken to a facility designed to hold about 100 people. Local officials have reportedly ordered the emergency transfer of about 300 of the migrants to Sicily.
The number of arrivals has led to problems with identification of the migrants in the holding center, reported the Austrian daily Der Standard.
It also prompted Italy’s former interior minister Matteo Salvini, who visited Lampedusa on Wednesday, to accuse the government going soft on irregular migration.
Romdhane Ben Amor from the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) said more people are leaving Tunisia to escape conditions of economic and social deprivation, which have worsened due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"People have no work and no hope. In addition, they suffer from lack of access to health and education. The most vulnerable are unable to get treatment in Tunisia," he told InfoMigrants French.
With KNA, Reuters