1 000 Tunisian migrants reach Italian island

2011-02-13 20:06
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. (Daniele La Monaca, AP)

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. (Daniele La Monaca, AP) (Daniele La Monaca)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Rome - Nearly 1 000 people escaping turmoil in Tunisia landed on an Italian island overnight on Sunday after the government declared a wave of illegal immigrants a humanitarian emergency.

Struggling local authorities called for more support on Sunday to help handle the increasing stream of migrants into Lampedusa, a Sicilian island closer to Africa than mainland Italy, after thousands of arrivals in the past week.

The situation has alarmed Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government, which proclaimed a humanitarian emergency following a meeting on Saturday, giving authorities extraordinary powers setting aside normal bureaucracy to control migrant flows, in part by blocking incoming boats off-shore.

On Sunday, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini repeated calls to the European Union for help after one boat sank off the coast of Tunisia on Saturday, with at least one migrant reported dead.

"We have to mobilise countries around the Mediterranean which have boats, aircraft, helicopters," Frattini said in an interview with the Corriere Della Sera newspaper.

Authorities have directed migrants to a Lampedusa soccer field while hundreds slept under open skies in its port, wrapped in space blankets. Local hotels and churches have also thrown open facilities.

Italy has called for an urgent EU meeting to work out an efficient response and it wants patrol boats stationed near the Tunisian coast to intercept migrants.

New exodus

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni has blamed the new exodus on Tunisian authorities being unable to enforce bilateral accords on curbing illegal immigration after weeks of protests overthrew President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali last month.

Officials are also worried that the crisis in Egypt, where mass protests swept President Hosni Mubarak from power on Friday, will provoke another wave of migrant arrivals.

Maroni, a member of the fiercely anti-immigrant Northern League, said earlier this week that there could be "terrorist infiltrations" among the migrants and criminals could take refuge in Europe under the guise of seeking political asylum.

Italy has also asked the European Commission for help and the situation will be discussed with Tunisia's foreign minister when he visits Rome next week, Maroni said earlier.

Berlusconi's government was elected in 2008 promising a crackdown on illegal immigration and had virtually halted seaborne migrant arrivals by striking a deal with Libya.

Read more on:    silvio berlusconi  |  italy  |  tunisia  |  refugees
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.