Associated Press, August 28, 2022
Italian authorities scrambled on Sunday to relieve overcrowding in shelters after scores of boats carrying a total of about 1,000 migrants reached Italy’s southern shores and two of its tiny islands over the weekend.
Nearly 50 boats arrived between Friday night and Saturday on Lampedusa island off Sicily, according to state radio and other Italian media. Other boats carrying migrants reached Pantelleria, another tiny island favored by vacationers.
Hundreds of migrants stepped ashore from the virtual flotilla of smugglers’ vessels on those islands. Several of the vessels launched by migrant smugglers held as few as eight passengers. But others had around 100 passengers aboard, many of them from Tunisia, according to the reports.
With the disembarkation of hundreds of migrants from boats in the last days, the residence temporarily housing rescued migrants on Lampedusa quickly became overcrowded. Corriere della Sera said the residence housed 1,500 asylum-seekers, nearly four times its capacity.
Interior ministry authorities arranged for a commercial passenger ferry to sail from Sicily to Lampedusa, where it was expected to arrive on Sunday night, embark 250 migrants and take them to Sicilian migrant residences to lessen crowding on the tiny island’s facility.