If, like me, you follow the Italian Marina Militare , various migration organisations and most of the Italian newspapers on twitter, you sometimes won't believe the figures that you see before your eyes, for they are very grim indeed:
To give you an idea of what is happening, let us take the period from last Friday to Sunday, when 5,500 migrants were saved in the Mediterranean. Rescuers also watched, horrified, on Sunday as five males threw themselves. or were pushed, into the sea, and died from drowning despite the rescuers' best efforts to revive them.
On Monday 1,800 people were saved in 16 rescue operations coordinated by the Italian Coast Guard, helped by the Italian Navy, German Navy, a MSF ship and a Rettet ship. Yesterday 385 migrants were brought to Catania, along with four bodies. Among migrants brought to Pozzallo was a Libyan man who had been shot in the thigh. No further details of his story or condition are available.
On the A18 motorway a 12-year-old Eritrean migrant was found walking after absconding from a youth facility in Acireale. When he was stopped by police he said that he was only trying to reach the other boys who had disembarked with him at Pozzallo. Can you imagine his desperation and loneliness? At the end of 2015 there were estimated to have been 6,135 unaccompanied minors like him, all of them untraceable now.
Meanwhile 12 people have been arrested in Sicily today on suspicion of people trafficking and the Mayor of Pozzallo is so disgusted by the lack of promised help for his city from central government that he says he will no longer allow Prime Minister Renzi or Interior Minister Angelino Alfano to enter the town hall there.
Figures released yesterday by the IOM show that there have been 4,027 migrant deaths in 2016, of which 3,120 were in the Mediterranean. [These are, of course, only the ones that we know about.] From 29th July to 1st August 17,923 migrants were rescued at sea. From 1st January to 1st August this year migrant arrivals in Italy totalled 96,000.
Each one is human, each one has a story and each one has a dream. What ocean can absorb so many tears and what hearts can hold so much sadness?