Members of Italy’s Guardia Costiera prepare to board migrants on wooden boats near the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa on September 1, 2021. File Photo / REUTERS/Juan Medina

ROME: Italian authorities rushed on Sunday to ease overcrowding in shelters after dozens of boats carrying about 1,000 migrants in total arrived on Italy’s southern coast and two small islands over the weekend.

Nearly 50 ships arrived at Lampedusa off the coast of Sicily from Friday night to Saturday, according to state radio and other Italian media. Another ship with immigrants arrived at another small island popular with vacationers, Pantelleria.

Hundreds of migrants landed from smuggler fleets on these islands. Some of the ships launched by immigrant smugglers carried as few as eight passengers. However, other passengers reportedly carried around 100 passengers, many of them from Tunisia.

Other boats arrived on the coast of mainland Italy on Saturday, unassisted or assisted by the Italian Coast Guard.

Italian news agency ANSA said most of the 92 migrants, most of them from Afghanistan, arrived in Puglia, the “heel” of the boot-shaped peninsula, by yacht on Saturday. , other boats have reached Italy’s two largest islands, Sicily and Sardinia, in the past two days.

In Sardinia, the Carabinieri paramilitary police found 29 migrants walking on the road, ANSA said.

The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders tweeted that one of its relief ships, the Geo Barents, rescued 25 migrants, including five minors, from a small boat wrecked on the high seas near Libya on Saturday night. Did. Geo Barents had already safely extracted other migrants abroad in other relief efforts, the group said.

Hundreds of migrants disembarked from boats in the last few days, so the housing that temporarily housed migrants rescued in Lampedusa quickly became overcrowded. According to Corriere della Sera, the residence holds 1,500 asylum seekers, almost four times its capacity.

Interior Ministry officials have arranged for a commercial passenger ferry to arrive from Sicily to Lampedusa, arriving there on Sunday evening, embarking 250 migrants and sending Sicilian passengers to ease congestion at the small island’s facilities. I was planning to take him to the immigration settlement.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have set sail from the Libyan coast on smuggler ships in the last few decades, many from Tunisia.

Italian media said the Tunisian coast guard had thwarted at least 20 attempts by ships full of migrants to reach Italy and rescued many others from wrecked boats on Friday and Saturday. .

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