In the first eight days of 2023, more than 2,500 migrants from North Africa landed on Italian shores, compared to 370 in the same period last year, the Ministry of the Interior said today.

According to a report published by the newspaper La Repubblica, a meeting will take place this Monday in the Sicilian city of Agrigento, near the port of Empedocle, to evaluate this scenario, which is considered critical, given the continuous arrival of irregular immigrants in that area, particularly on the southern island of Lampedusa.

The meeting, scheduled for the afternoon, will be attended by the Interior Minister, Matteo Pantedosi, the mayor of Lampedusa, Filippo Mannino, and the head of the local police, Lamberto Giannini, who will determine actions to deal with the situation.

“We are desperate, we can’t take any more,” said Mannino, who also pointed out that these days, on the southern island under his jurisdiction, “I have already had to count three deaths, and more than two thousand arrivals. With these rhythms, with these dizzying numbers even in the middle of winter, I don’t know how long we will be able to cope with all this”.

This morning, according to a spokesman for the Italian maritime guard, another 56 migrants from Tunisia were rescued and transferred to Lampedusa, whose precarious boat was adrift in the Mediterranean Sea, without fuel, in adverse weather conditions.

Last Sunday, 243 people from six ships disembarked on the island and there were 1, 086 people in the Imbriacola reception centre, with a capacity for just over 300, and 202 were urgently transferred to Port Empedocle, in Sicily, in order to alleviate the existing overcrowding, the source added.

The situation in the area has been complicated in recent days by an increase in migration along the route from the Tunisian coast to the Italian island, amid unfavourable weather conditions that have led to several shipwrecks.

This Sunday, according to the source, the sea returned the body of a saponified migrant, without hands or feet, indicating that she had been in those waters for several days, which will be added in a Lampedusa morgue to three others recovered a few hours ago, after a shipwreck that occurred some 30 nautical miles away.

Among the dead, he added, was a girl, just 18 months old, who was travelling in a seven-metre metal boat that sank, which left Tunis last Thursday with 35 people on board from Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso.

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