News / Europe

Italian Island Feeling Strain of Burgeoning Immigration

An Italian Coast Guard vessel rescues a boatload of would-be migrants believed to be from North Africa in the waters off the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, Italy, (File)
An Italian Coast Guard vessel rescues a boatload of would-be migrants believed to be from North Africa in the waters off the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, Italy, (File)

Multimedia

Italians are marking the 150th anniversary of unification but in the tiny island of Lampedusa, flags are flying at half-mast in protest at the government’s failure to better deal with the immigration emergency.

The people of Lampedusa say there is very little to celebrate on their island, which is currently home to 3,000 immigrants. They are waiting to be transferred to other centers on the mainland but those too are now full. Local authorities are in despair because immigrants are not being moved on.

Mayor Bernardino De Rubeis, like the island’s population, does not care about the 150th anniversary of Italian unification.

De Rubeis says this is a day of mourning because we are witnessing the agony of 300 tourism business operators who are suffering due to this invasion. 3,000 immigrants he says are being forced to walk the streets of Lampedusa because transfers towards Italy are not being carried out.

While protests were being held on the island Thursday morning, the parish priest held an outdoor mass at the monument to the immigrant known as the “Door of Europe” to recall the many who have perished during the risky crossings on make-shift boats from North Africa.

Italy’s Interior Minister Roberto Maroni says 11,200 mostly Tunisian immigrants have arrived in Lampedusa since the start of this year but he fears this is only the beginning. Last year 4,000 arrived in total thanks to existing agreement with Libya.  Maroni added that to deal with the emergency, assistance has been requested from the EU, but so far this has been unsatisfactory.

Italy’s foreign undersecretary Stefania Craxi visited the island Wednesday to assess the situation.

She says it’s an impossible situation because the center on the island can only hold 800 and there are nearly 3,000 immigrants here, which is as many as the entire population on the island. She added that the situation had to be resolved in 48 hours.

A ship meanwhile has arrived in Lampedusa port with the Italian staff from civil defense department that will try to establish if a tent city can be set up in the former military base on the island because the holding center on the island cannot cope with the present numbers.   

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid