Lampedusa, Italy, Apr 25 (EFE).- More than 2,200 migrants have been rescued from the Mediterranean Sea and brought to a reception center on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa in the past 24 hours, officials said Tuesday.
Sources at the center told EFE that 19 boats from North Africa carrying some 705 migrants had disembarked overnight.
The Italian Coast Guard warned on Monday afternoon that it had spotted at least 20 migrant vessels dotted around the island.
The latest wave of migrants trying to reach Europe via the central Mediterranean from the Tunisian coast has left the reception center operating well over its capacity of 400.
Lampedusa, a tiny island between Tunisia and Malta, has a population of just 6,000.
Authorities are now bracing for a further increase in arrivals after violence erupted in Sudan last week as part of a military power struggle which will likely worsen the migration crisis in the central Mediterranean.
“Before this crisis, Sudan was one of the countries from where we already received the most immigrants, so there will surely be an increase of arrivals of this nationality to our coasts,” Marika Borettaz, a nurse working on an Italian military vessel on Lampedusa told Efe.
Humanitarian NGOs, such as Save the Children, have denounced the precarious hygienic and overcrowded situation at the Lampedusa migrant facilities which have five pavilions that have been fenced off and are guarded by the army around the clock.
Authorities have launched an operation to relocate migrants to other facilities on the nearby island of Sicily in a bid to ease the overcrowding.
At least 700 people are expected to be transferred to Porto Empedocle, in southern Sicily, in the next few hours.
Italy’s interior minister Matteo Piantedosi is visiting the Lampedusa reception center later on Tuesday.
According to official data, some 36,610 migrants have arrived in Italy this year, four times more than in the same period in 2022 (9,089).EFE