FROM FILE: The coffin of a child among coffins of victims of a boat sinking in a hangar of Lampedusa airport | Photo: ANSA/Lannino
FROM FILE: The coffin of a child among coffins of victims of a boat sinking in a hangar of Lampedusa airport | Photo: ANSA/Lannino

The Italian island of Lampedusa saw the arrival of more than 700 migrants and refugees on Wednesday and Thursday. Over 1,300 people are now staying at local hotspots, built for just 350. A baby was found dead on a boat that crossed from Tunisia.

On Thurday (November 10), at least 221 persons reached Lampedusa.

Coast guard patrol crews rescued people from three make-shift dinghies, which were carrying 31, 36 and 51 people. All of them reportedly left from Sfax in Tunisia.

Baby died of hypothermia during crossing

On one of those boats, the dead body of a 20 day-old baby was found. The infant was traveling with his 19-year-old mother, originally from the Ivory Coast. The child reportedly suffered from a respiratory condition. His parents were hoping to have the infant cured in Italy. His body was examined and the doctor did not find any sign of violence -- the infant's death was likely caused by hypothermia due to the frail conditions of the baby.

Also on Thursday, a fourth boat arrived on Lampedusa with 33 migrants on board, among them 15 women and 2 minors, hailing from the Ivory Coast and Guinea. A fifth boat, 10 meters long, was rescued while it was adrift due to engine troubles. On board were 70 people, among them 16 women and 2 minors, from Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, Guinea, Mali, Libya and the Gambia.

More than 500 migrants arrived on Wednesday

On Wednesday, 522 migrants and refugees arrived on Lampedusa after crossing the Mediterranean on nine boats.

Among them were 28 persons from the Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Camerun and Nigeria, who were found on the beach of Cala Francese by finance guard military officers. The boat they used for the crossing was not found.

Lampedusa has seen a large number of asylum seekers arrive recently, overwhelming its reception facilities.

On Thursday afternoon -- after 105 persons were transferred to the Italian mainland, there were still 1,363 migrants at the Lampedusa hotspot. The facility is designed to shelter only 350 persons.

Five dead bodies in Lampedusa morgue

The local morgue saw the arrival of five dead bodies of migrants by Thursday -- the newborn baby, two Tunisians for whom the consulate has requested a DNA test, and two women, one of whom had a cardiac arrest caused by hypothermia on Wednesday at the hospital. They are held in a morgue at the Lampedusa cemetery near Cala Pisana.

Over the last few weeks, the dead bodies of at least a dozen migrants and refugees were transferred from Lampedusa to Sicily, where they were buried on several different cemeteries.

"It is a continuous flow of phone calls by authorities to inform me that there are dead bodies. I have the impression of being in front of a war bulletin and what worries me is that it is becoming a daily routine, while Europe remains indifferent," said the mayor of Lampedusa, Filippo Mannino.

Lampedusa mayor calls for more support

He continued: "It is difficult to work in these conditions, firstly from a human point of view and secondly because our municipality cannot withstand this weight, also due to insufficient human resources, tools and finances."

The mayor wrote to the Italian prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, and to the interior minister, Matteo Piantedosi, to ask for an urgent meeting.

"We must identify long-lasting solutions. Solutions that it are possible to implement in this territory where the effects of migration are felt. I ask the central government to offer its support and solidarity," he said.


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