After a relative lull for the last six weeks or so, the flood of migrants from North Africa to Italy has resumed. According to the latest reports, 1,600 culture-enrichers landed on Lampedusa over the weekend. This news followed a series of stories about earlier landings on the island; however, those seem to be included in the total given by Deutsche Welle in today’s article. For this reason I’ve used the conservative estimate of 1,600 to bump the total number of arrivals this year to just under 52,000, and have adjusted the Cultural Enrichment Thermometer accordingly.
The first report came in on Saturday, and described a boat carrying more than three hundred refugees, all of whom were thought to be from sub-Saharan Africa:
Lampedusa Island Witnesses Arrival of 320 Migrants
(AGI) Rome — The island of Lampedusa has witnessed a new migrant boat landing. A wooden vessel carrying 320 – among whom 35 women and 11 minors — Sub-Saharan nationals, was spotted this morning half a mile off the port of Lampedusa and was rescued and towed by a Coast Guard patrol boat.
Another boat carrying three hundred enrichers landed in Lampedusa later that day:
Boat Carrying 300 Immigrants Sighted South of Lampedusa
(AGI) Rome — Another boat carrying some 300 immigrants has been sighted by a Coast Guard plane about 55 miles south of Lampedusa. Meanwhile, search operations continue for a boat carrying 250 immigrants reported by a trawler north of the island of Pantelleria. Another vessel with 300 people on board (not 200 as initially reported) sighted this morning by the Coast Guard is currently in SAR waters about 20 miles off Lampedusa. A Coast Guard patrol boat is escorting it to the island.
On Sunday two boats carrying more than four hundred migrants landed at Lampedusa, and 377 others made their way to Malta (which is not included in the running total for Italy):
Italy: Another 400 Migrants Land in Lampedusa
(AGI) Rome — More than 400 migrants landed in Lampedusa over the course of last night. Shortly after midnight Finance Police and port authority patrol boats rescued 199 people, including 11 women and six children. The vessel was picked up about 20 miles from Lampedusa. At 4.50 am, Palermo port authority announced that another boat had been intercepted just outside the harbour with 227 people on board. Finally 377 other immigrants were rescued in Maltese waters. The navy is taking them to Malta.
Today’s report gives the overall total of 1,600 people who arrived in ten boats. This means that an additional 580 people must have landed on five vessels:
New Flood of Migrants Flees Libya as Gadhafi Promises ‘Martyr Blood’
Ten new boats full of North African migrants have arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa. Most have come from Libya, where rebel fighters and Gadhafi’s forces continue their battle for control of the country.
Waves of refugees have continued to flee Libya for European shores, as Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi pledged to up the ante in his battle to stave off advancing rebel fighters.
Some 1,600 North African migrants arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa this weekend, with the majority of them coming from war-torn Libya. The island’s port authority said just 10 boats had carried the hundreds of migrants, which included about 100 women and 40 children.
The Italian coast guard also said it had spotted two additional boats at sea carrying hundreds more migrants from northern Africa.
Earlier last week, a small number of Afghans arrived in the Otranto area, in the heel of the Italian boot:
Illegal 22 Afghans Land in Otranto
(AGI) Otranto — Police stopped 22 Afghans on Otranto beach as they were heading for the town following the railway tracks.
They probably landed overnight in Alimini, just north of Otranto.
Like other arrivals in the same region, we may assume these immigrants were brought in by traffickers from the Balkans, rather than North Africa. The Balkan route for enrichers sends a continuous trickle to Italy, but remains minor in comparison with the ongoing surge across the Mediterranean from Libya and Tunisia.
Hat tips: C. Cantoni and Rembrandt.
For previous posts about the Mediterranean refugee crisis, see The Camp of the Saints Archive.