Migrants walking along the Roja river, near Ventimiglia, Italy northwest, towards the French border | Photo: ANSA/CHIARA CARENINI
Migrants walking along the Roja river, near Ventimiglia, Italy northwest, towards the French border | Photo: ANSA/CHIARA CARENINI

Authorities in Ventimiglia, an Italian town in Liguria near the border with France, have announced the upcoming creation of a center of transit for migrants.

On Friday, November 19, authorities in Ventimiglia announced the planned creation of a new transit center for migrants in the Liguria town near the border with France.

The center will host and assist migrants in transit. It will also provide information to those who are interested in entering protection programs or who want to become regular migrants. The center will detect vulnerable people in order to offer support.

The announcement of a new center was made during a summit at the municipality of Ventimiglia, which was also attended by Prefect Michele Di Bari of the interior ministry's immigration department.

Solution promoted by local authorities

Di Bari said on the sidelines of the meeting Friday that a "solution proposed by the municipal administration of Ventimiglia and by the mayor concerns the identification of an area, some three kilometers from the city center, on which to build the transit center." Di Bari said that all authorities involved were well aware that the "phenomenon of migrant flows is very much felt by this city."

Other representatives of local and national institutions included provincial police chiefs and the prefect of the Liguria city of Imperia, Armando Nanei, who attended the meeting to work for a long-term solution to the migrant emergency at the border with France.

The planned project "will soon be brought to the attention of the interior ministry and the prefect of Imperia" so it can obtain the required approval to carry out construction work, Di Bari said.

He highlighted the need to select and organize essential services in the area.

"Even a transit center, in fact, needs services like lighting, a sewage system, security in the area. And then, housing units, internal and external security and psychological assistance," he explained.

He concluded saying that the facility was legally designated as a center of transit to give the "possibility to police forces to identify these people and verify their juridical position."

"We think that the project can be approved within 30 days and then we hope that the time" required to build it will be limited to "what is strictly necessary."

The mayor of Ventimiglia, Gaetano Scullino, expressed satisfaction, saying "the best" location was chosen to create the center, which "the city of Ventimiglia had been missing for the past year and a half."

The mayor explained that the location was far from the city center, "near the border".

Space to assist, inform migrants

The center will be divided into areas to host adults as well as women and children in housing units with bathrooms and a canteen. It will also have space for meetings and to provide information and orientation for migrants, as well as other services to organize identification procedures, language mediation and health, social and legal assistance, the mayor said.

Participants at the meeting on Friday said migrants should remain in the center for short periods of time.

The center's capacity will be determined after the project drafted by the municipal administration will be examined within 30 days.

The management of the center will be subsequently decided, together with the prefecture of Imperia and with the collaboration of the Migrants' project unit set up within the city of Ventimiglia, of the Red Cross and UNHCR, as well as a network of local associations.

 

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