With 1000 illegal immigrants arriving every day for the last five days on the Italian island of Lampedusa Italy has declared a humanitarian state of emergency and is appealing to the EU for aid.
Italy needs extra planes and ships to patrol the Tunisian coast, as most of the migrants are Tunisians, with many complaining they have been forced to flee a country in chaos. Calm seas and fine weather means many ships have left for Europe in recent days.
“These countries: Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt, but also others, need a strategy in which Europe provides much more substantial means to them – a real ‘Marshall plan’ in order to avoide the desperation there that causes even more migration,” said Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.
Italian coastguards are at full stretch attempting to locate and then monitor the often dangerous and overcrowded vessels attempting to make the crossing. One migrant died last night and another was reported lost at sea.
The lucky ones were picked up by the Italian coastguards, but their immediate future is far from clear or comfortable, as they will be heading off to full-to-overflowing transit camps.