362 of the 500 who reached Italy in the past two days were Bangladesh | Instant News


Photo file: An Italian health worker gives numbered wristbands to migrants rescued at sea on the rescue boat ‘Ocean Viking’, operated by a French NGO, SOS Mediterranee, in the Mediterranean Sea on July 5, 2020
AFP

“Most of those on board from Libya – 95 people in one and 267 in others – are from Bangladesh ‘

More than 500 migrants including 362 Bangladeshis have arrived in Lampedusa over the past two days, the UN migration agency said on Friday, when people used calm waters to try to cross the dangerous Mediterranean into Europe.

The island has seen a sharp increase in the number of migrants who land there directly, even when others were taken from the Mediterranean on a rescue vessel the charity has taken in the last few days in Sicily to the north.

Nine ships arrived on Thursday from Tunisia, carrying a total of 116 people. A further 434 people arrived Friday, with seven ships from Tunisia and two large ships from Libya, according to the International Organization for Migration (IMO).

Most of those on board from Libya – 95 people in one and 267 in others – are from Bangladesh, IOM said.

The Italian coast guard cannot be immediately contacted for details of which ships made him land independently and which ones met and carried by his ships.

“Arrivals have increased compared to last year, but are still low compared to two years ago, not to mention three or four years ago,” IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo told AFP.

‘Impossible to predict’

He said that while the last 48 hours had seen more small ships from Tunisia than usual, and rarely today saw a ship arriving with 260 people from Libya, also not a warning sign of a sharp increase in the arrival of migrants to come.

“There are always arrivals from Tunisia … sometimes there are many, sometimes fewer, and the presence of Bangladeshis on landings from Libya is not new,” Di Giacomo said.

There is “clearly a greater number of departures in the summer months” but “it is impossible to estimate because of the decision to leave, and the possibility of being able to do so depends on too many changing factors.”

In crisis-hit Libya, for example, fighting or control by militias from parts of the coast can prevent departure.

The difference from the previous summer for those trying to cross now is that “there are not enough patrols at sea, and the risks for those who leave are enormous.”

In addition, Libyan coast guards have stepped up their operations to stop ship departures and return their ships to Libya.

“And this is a source of concern because those brought back are detained and sometimes even sent to centers where often no one can enter and we don’t know what happens to people,” he said.

Around 8,000 people have arrived in Italy by sea this year, compared to just over 3,000 in the same period last year and nearly 17,000 in the same period in 2018.

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