17 February 2015
Italy - IOM teams in Italy reported Tuesday (17/2) that 933 migrants have arrived on the island of Lampedusa during the past 24 hours, bringing to at least 3,800 the total number of survivors rescued from the Mediterranean since Friday (13/2).
In addition to nearly one thousand migrants now being processed in Lampedusa – where the capacity of the reception centre is normally just 400 – almost 300 more either are bound for the port of Pozzallo, on the island of Sicily, or are already in a reception centre there. Three hundred more are en route to the port of Calabria, while 640 rescued migrants are bound for Porto Empedocle, also in Sicily. Late Monday IOM learned that 265 rescued migrants also are bound for Lampedusa.
Italy’s Ministry of Interior reported 3,528 migrants arrived in Italy by sea in January. Totals for February already have topped last month’s arrivals, indicating 2015’s human smuggling season is starting earlier than in years past, with potentially lethal consequences. In 2014 IOM reported 3,279 migrants died attempting to cross the Mediterranean bound for Europe.
It is not yet known how many fatalities may have occurred during what is believed to have been a flotilla of a dozen or more inflatable boats that left Libya last Tuesday, just days after a smaller fleet foundered, killing an estimated 330 migrants, most of them from Sub-Saharan Africa.
As violence escalates in Libya, IOM has called for world governments to act swiftly to face the growing threat to migrants, as over 1,600 people were rescued from unseaworthy boats this weekend.