Yet another tragedy of migration has been reported in Italy, near the border with France. Two foreigners on Saturday morning (April 2) died after being hit by a lorry on the A10 highway between Genoa and Ventimiglia, near Bordighera, in the northwestern region of Liguria. A third person was seriously injured in the accident.
The umpteenth tragedy of migration has been reported in Italy, near the border with France. The accident took place April 2 on the A10 highway connecting Genoa to the border city of Ventimiglia, in the northwestern region of Liguria.
Two foreigners were hit and killed by a lorry while a third was seriously injured and taken to the hospital of Santa Corona in Pietra Ligure, in the province of Savona. All three are citizens of Sri Lanka.
Sources on the ground said the three men were crossing the highway near the service station of Bordighera, in the direction of France, with four others who reportedly fled the scene.
The lorry's driver reportedly saw them appear suddenly and was unable to stop the vehicle on time to avoid the impact. The accident occurred at 7 am local time.
The driver, a 32-year-old Italian man, was in a state of shock after the crash. He was driving to the Principality of Monaco to deliver pizzas and focaccias.
Investigation on the scene
The driver told rescuers: "I saw a group of people appear suddenly and saw them on the highway, I couldn't avoid them". He tested negative for alcohol use. Road police from Imperia Ovest are investigating the accident.
The migrants could have been left at the service station by a trafficker or could have climbed down from a truck on which they were hiding, investigative sources said. Police will inspect images from video surveillance cameras at the gas station.
A reported 23 migrants have died since 2015 while trying to reach France
The one on Saturday was the umpteenth fatal accident involving migrants who were trying to reach France. Some have died after being hit by a car or lorry while walking on a highway, or by electrocution on the roof of a train. Others have drowned while trying to swim to a French beach or after falling off the Col de Mort, a rocky cliff overlooking the sea along the road leading to the border crossing of Ponte San Luigi, in Ventimiglia.
According to volunteers who have been assisting migrants for years, a reported 23 foreigners have died in the area since 2015.
Tragedy sparks new controversy on hosting policy in Ventimiglia
The accident sparked a new controversy on hosting policies, landings and on the management of migrants in the area of the border Italian city of Ventimiglia, which has been under pressure for years.
"Allowing immigrants to land in Italy and then abandoning them is unacceptable", said on Saturday the city's mayor, Gaetano Scullino (center-right). He expressed sorrow for the accident, saying migrants were "left to their own devices" and describing the lorry's driver as an "innocent victim of this tragedy."
"Migration flows, which also involve those fleeing war, must and can be managed by Europe", the mayor went on to say, citing as an example the management of Ukrainian refugees. "If immigration is only of an economic type, it is also naïve to accept it passively", he concluded.
The whip of the League party in the Liguria regional council, Stefano Mai, accused Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese. "We have been denouncing for years the presence of migrants who walk on the A10, and the highway often closed to rescue them. The minister does not appear to be aware of this reality. It is necessary to stop landings, to take action on security at the border. Lamorgese must wake up," he said.
Bishop of Ventimiglia says France must end discrimination
The bishop of Ventimiglia and Sanremo, Antonio Suetta, spoke about the accident in a statement released on Monday, April 4.
"I quote the Holy Father and urge authorities, the French nation, to end as soon as possible such unjust discriminations and conducts, which impact poor and defenseless people as well as other European nations, in particular, in this case, Italy," said Suetta.
"I hope that in the political debate and in the electoral campaign leading up to the election of the new president of the French Republic such a humanitarian emergency will find the right attention, careful reflection and concrete perspectives for a solution," added the bishop.
He also stressed the need to open a hosting center in Ventimiglia, a project discussed over the past few months, also with the mediation of the interior ministry, but which has not yet been implemented.
"The first three months of the ongoing year have already forced us to register four deaths", concluded Suetta. "I also call on Italian authorities to urgently complete a temporary hosting center which had been originally planned for our border area."
The four deaths reported so far this year include two migrants who died of electrocution on as many trains bound for France (in February and March) and the pair who died on the A10 on Saturday.