Rescued migrants are shown the direction for further registration procedures after arriving in the port of Lampedusa, Italy, 18 September 2023. EFE/EPA/CIRO FUSCO

Nearly 100 migrants escape from overcrowded center in southern Italy

Rome, Sep 18 (EFE).- Nearly one hundred newly arrived migrants escaped from an overcrowded reception center in Sicily, a Mediterranean island in Italy, which has been grappling with a record number of migrants arriving on its shores in recent days.

These migrants had been transferred to the overcrowded facility in the city of Porto Empedocle after initially arriving on the southern island of Lampedusa.

Since Sunday, over 1,000 immigrants have been crammed into this ill-equipped facility, which was never prepared to accommodate such a large number of people.

Consequently, there have been continuous attempts by migrants to escape, as reported by Italian media outlets.

Police are currently searching for the migrants that managed to flee the facility, which receives a large number of its migrants from Lampedusa, the major hub for newly arrived migrants in southern Italy.

In recent days, thousands of migrants were transferred to facilities in other parts of Italy from the Lampedusa reception center.

On Monday morning, a navy ship transported approximately 600 migrants from the Lampedusa center to Catania, also on the island of Sicily, where they were to be housed in a vaccination facility-turned-reception center.

Moreover, a ship operated by the organization Doctors Without Borders, which had rescued 471 migrants in various rescue operations in the central Mediterranean Sea, was also expected to arrive at the port of Brindisi in Apulia later in the day.

Italy is currently facing a record number of migrants arriving on its southern islands, leading to a growing debate among European countries on how to address the issue.

On Sunday, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who visited the Lampedusa Island along with the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, said that illegal immigration was “a European challenge” that required “a European answer.”

She also presented a “10-point action plan” to help Italy in managing the longstanding migration crisis.

Moreover, France’s Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, was also scheduled to arrive in Rome later in the day to discuss the migration issue with the Italian authorities.

Prior to his visit, Darmanin explained that France would provide “assistance” to Italy to defend its borders but underlined it would not take in the immigrants arriving in Lampedusa. EFE