Young Syrian refugees and their families arrive at Rome Airport via the humanitarian corridor project Photo: Sant'Egidio/ANSA
Young Syrian refugees and their families arrive at Rome Airport via the humanitarian corridor project Photo: Sant'Egidio/ANSA

More than 100 migrants, including young children from the Horn of Africa, arrived in Italy this week. The migrants were flown to Rome via a 'humanitarian corridor' project begun in early 2016.

Arriving at the airport near Rome, children holding balloons smiled and shouted "Viva l'Italia!" They were brought via the humanitarian corridor project supported by the Comunità di Sant'Egidio, the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy and the Waldensian Church together with the Italian interior and foreign ministries. Some 21 minors under the age of 14 were part of a group of 66 Syrian migrants who arrived in Rome from Beirut. The migrants had fled war and come from several different areas including Homs, Aleppo, Idlib and Damascus. 

Reception for Syrian refugees 

The May 29 refugee arrival was the twelfth so far, out of 22 planned, since the beginning of the humanitarian corridor project on February 4, 2016. After months and often years spent in refugee camps in extreme precariousness and without the chance for children to attend school, the refugees have now been received in Italy thanks to Italians who offered their homes as well as of associations, parishes and other religious bodies. 

The refugees will be distributed between the Lazio, Campania, Sicily and Lombardy and will receive help with integration beginning with language courses and insertion into the labor market. The project is entirely funded by the bodies supporting it. 

''I want to dedicate today's arrival to two children: Miracle, the infant who was born in recent days in international waters to a woman rescued by a ship from the Italian navy, torn from death's hands and transferred onto the Acquarius,'' said Paolo Naso, from the Federation of Evangelical, Methodist and Waldensian Churches, ''and the five-month-old Judd, who arrived today thanks to his father's courage, who managed to flee from war. Judd arrived safely, unlike Miracle. He did not risk his life. This is what we want. Good practices are spreading across Europe thanks to humanitarian corridors.'' 

50 refugees from the Horn of Africa 

On Wednesday another group of migrants arrived in Rome on a flight from Addis Ababa -- also part of the humanitarian corridor project. The refugees were from the Horn of Africa -- Somalia, South Sudan and Eritrea -- and had sought refuge in Ethiopia. 

The Italian Bishops' Conference (CEI) and Sant'Egidio said that almost 200 refugees have now arrived in Italy out of a planned 500 over two years. Among the 50 who arrived on May 30 in Fiumicino were many children and numerous cases of people requiring medical care for illnesses aggravated by precarious living conditions in refugee camps and makeshift lodgings. 

These refugees will be welcomed in different Italian regions including Lazio, Puglia, Liguria, Emilia Romagna and Sicily, where healthcare services have been activated for those requiring it, and a path to integration has been planned for them. 

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