Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Once again it has taken a tragedy for the migrant situation with which Italy is dealing every day to make the international press: on Saturday night the Italian Navy saved 73 people and recovered 18 bodies from a boat which had partially sunk 120 miles south of Lampedusa. The 18 dead were found on the bottom of the boat and they are presumed to have died from dehydration or the inhalation of petrol fumes. Ten migrants who had either fallen or jumped into the sea were saved by inflatable life rafts thrown to them by the crew of the naval ship but it is thought that up to another ten migrants were lost at sea. On Sunday evening the survivors and the bodies were taken to Pozzallo where Mayor Luigi Ammatuna spoke of an unending tragedy, a genocide with consequences that Italy, and Pozzallo in particular, cannot shoulder alone. The bodies have now been transferred to the Protezione Civile morgue in Ragusa while Mayor Ammatuna makes arrangements for their burial in the cemeteries of neighbouring towns. The Mayor has asked both the Prefect of Ragusa and the Italian Interior Ministry for help.

Meanwhile another Italian naval ship has arrived in Reggio Calabria carrying 1,373 migrants who had been saved in recent days. Fifty people aboard had scabies and the ship was also tragically carrying the body of an Eritrean man who had, according to survivors, been hit with a metal bar by a people trafficker as the migrant boat left Libya. 

Yet another overcrowded migrant boat sank half a mile off Libya on Friday night and it is estimated that 250 passengers have died. Bodies were still being washed up onto Libyan beaches today [Tuesday].

Tuesday as a whole has brought no better news, with another fishing boat carrying migrants having capsized south of Lampedusa. The Italian Navy and Coast Guard have rescued 364 people and six bodies were initially recovered, a figure which has now risen to 24.

It is reported that a total of 4,000 migrants were rescued or recovered by Mare Nostrum operatives last weekend alone. Perhaps the Vatican City newpaper L'Osservatore Romano put it best, saying that a "silent war" is taking place in the Mediterranean.

Today representatives from the Italian Interior Ministry, Frontex [the European External Borders Agency] and the European Commission met to discuss the situation and an urgent meeting between Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Angelino Alfano and European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has been scheduled for Wednesday. Cecilia Malmström has said that this is to define priorities and decide how Italy and other Mediterranean countries can be helped in this situation. Can we really hope that words will be accompanied by deeds this time?


Anonymous said...

I've google+d this, Pat. I hope the words I've added will encourage you as you write about the way the world is turning and yearning in your corner. Bless you x

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

How many more times does the Mayor have to ask for help? All very sad and tragic I know Pat , but he can only do what he can do , others need to step up on this . Not sure who can help but there must be someone.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, Shirley. I can't find the words you've added, though - can you tell me where they are? Hi, Anne. There have been some hopeful developments today.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pat - I've put it on my Facebook now Shirley Davis - Facebook

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, Shirley - I've found it now. I very much appreciate your kind words and encouragement. xx


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