Homeless men find shelter at Trieste station | Photo: ANSA/MASSIMO PERCOSSI
Homeless men find shelter at Trieste station | Photo: ANSA/MASSIMO PERCOSSI

The refugee support association ICS in Trieste has reported that the city does not have a plan to assist homeless people during the 'cold emergency'. "Anyone in a situation of extreme need is set to be left on the street," ICS said.

Like every year on December 1, the so-called "emergency plan" should have come into effect in the Italian city of Trieste. The plan entails emergency interventions to save the lives of those who do not have shelter for the night.

In the year of the COVID pandemic, however, in Trieste "there is no form of first assistance unless the homeless person can prove they are a resident," said the refugee support group ICS (Consorzio Italiano di Solidarietà -- Italian Solidarity Consortium) in a statement.

"The justification for not organizing a cold-emergency plan given by the City of Trieste, which said it was not its responsibility to handle asylum seekers, was deliberately false and ideological," it said.

"It's true that receiving the asylum seeker is the direct responsibility of the State from the moment the person makes the request for asylum. It's another thing to remember that, immediately after arriving, there may be a need for immediate hospital admission, a medical examination and a hot meal to avoid being exposed to the risk of dying of cold."

People risk dying on the street

"Anyone in a state of extreme need is set to be left on the street and risk dying there: the victim of human trafficking who has not yet been identified as such; the foreigner who intends to make an asylum request but, after a terrible journey, arrives at night when the offices for this procedure are closed; the person with mental-health problems that no one has identified and so on," the statement said.

The association stressed that, in the past, the so-called "low threshold" services made up of short and immediate initial-assistance interventions "were the pride of the city".

"These featured the Help Centre at the station for people in need, day centres providing shelter and initial assistance and information during the day, and an adequate number of beds in the various dormitories," it said.

"All this has been swept away in just a few months and now only the rubble of that system remains."

Over 100 people tracked down in the province of Udine

In the meantime, migrants continue to arrive via the Balkan route. On the night between Sunday and Monday, over 100 foreigners entered Italy illegally.

Those people were spotted between the A23 highway and several towns at the foot of the mountains in the province of Udine-Carnia, Gemona, Buja and Osoppo.

Many foreign nationals found themselves in the area of the Udine-Tarvisio rail line, causing delays for a few trains.

The highway and Carabinieri police intervened and all the international-protection-status seekers were transferred to the former Cavarzerani barracks in Udine, where they were put into COVID quarantine for 14 days.

Police received more reports on Monday morning and people were tracked down on the streets of the Friuli capital.


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