Rescued migrants are greeted by members of Doctors Without Borders in Lampedusa | Photo: AFP/THOMAS LOHNES
Rescued migrants are greeted by members of Doctors Without Borders in Lampedusa | Photo: AFP/THOMAS LOHNES

A nurse specialized in tropical diseases and working for MSF on Lampedusa said that many migrants who had departed from the Libyan coast claim "to have been beaten and tortured in the centers where they were detained prior to leaving."

"They arrive on Lampedusa after two or three days at sea. They are migrants of various nationalities: Bangladeshi, Egyptian, Sudanese, and Syrians who have been worn down by the journey and violence suffered.

"Many of them say that they were beaten and tortured in the centers where they were detained prior to leaving," ANSA was told by Alida Serracchieri, a nurse specialized in tropical diseases and healthcare coordinator for Doctors Without Borders' (MSF) project on the island of Lampedusa.

Since June, a team of MSF specialists have been working in Lampedusa to help the large number of migrants arriving on the island. The teams include a doctor, nurse, psychologist, and cultural mediator.

MSF project

"We are working with the healthcare personnel of the health ministry and ASP," Serracchieri said.

"On the quay, we are helping with the disembarking and the screening of every migrant, to identify both general pathologies and vulnerable cases such as those with mental problems and torture victims, who need very specific assistance. This is followed by the assistance on the quay, then at the hotspot, and in the Agrigento quarantine centers for vulnerable individuals."

Many landings in few days

Over the past three months, the MSF team has assisted about 10,000 migrants including those that arrived on Tuesday (August 24), when some 22 landings were recorded on the Sicilian island in a single day. With the good weather, the 'journeys of hope' have resumed at full speed.

"The weather conditions have improved since yesterday," the MSF coordinator said. "And we saw the effects."

On Tuesday, there were about 1,000 hosted at the hotspot of the Imbriacola district, which has an official maximum capacity of 250.

To deal with the situation, interior ministry sources said, "a direct communication line of alert has been activated starting this week between the Italian and Tunisian authorities for the rapid exchange of information on boats carrying irregular migrants leaving from the coasts of the North African country and on criminal activities linked to this phenomenon."

The direct line of alert -- requested by Italian interior minister Luciana Lamorgese on her mission to Tunis -- is now active 24 hours a day.

 

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