Some migrant tents on the banks of the river Roja in Ventimiglia | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA
Some migrant tents on the banks of the river Roja in Ventimiglia | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA

Italian authorities have reported that a former convent in Ventimiglia is considered to be the only solution for the creation of a hosting center for migrants at the border with France. However, Bishop Antonio Suetta stressed that it would take over a year to open the facility. In the meantime, "the only possible path remains to reopen the Roya park" to those reaching the border, he noted.

In a committee meeting on May 14 to discuss the presence of migrants in the northwestern border city of Ventimiglia, prefect Michele Di Bari said the former convent of the Frati Maristi is the only solution for the creation of a hosting center at the border with France.

However, the local bishop, Antonio Suetta, said opening the center in the convent is difficult to realize in the short term because the building will require renovation work that is expected to last roughly a year and a half.

To solve the situation of arrivals at the border, the "only path we can take is reopening the Roya park," Suetta said.

More controls in the summer

Di Bari said that there was an overall evaluation of measures to control migration flows. Measures implemented months ago were giving good results, he said. Numbers of pushbacks have "nearly halved, from 150 to 50-60 a day," he said.

He went on to say that "we have pressing and incisive controls on the railroad line Genoa-Ventimiglia aimed at identifying people."

Measures are only taken for those who are undocumented, he said. "Let's not forget that, under the current legislation, those who are regular remain regular," said the prefect.

During the summer, "controls will be boosted and many initiatives will be adopted that need to create more security in a key way," he concluded.

Meanwhile, an operation to send away migrants from Roya, an area close to the cemetery of Ventimiglia, was carried out on Friday (May 14) by security officials and city police. The officers asked migrants camping on the river bank to go away because the area is dangerous, due to the risk of flooding, and for hygienic reasons.

 

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