An influx of immigrants from Tunisia to Lampedusa is stretching the tiny Italian island’s facilities, but there is no crisis yet according to the head of the reception centre there.
Authorities are trying to organise onward transport to make room for more arrivals.
“When so many immigrants arrive at the same time there are always some difficulties, but we have managed to avoid an emergency. If the government provides the means to fly immigrants out, then we might even be able to take in higher numbers, but everything depends on getting those flights,” said Cono Galipo, head of the Lampedusa reception centre.
The centre at Lampedusa is designed to deal with 850 people, but organisers can trigger an emergency plan that could accommodate up to 1,250 immigrants.
“When there are more than 1,250 we begin running into some problems, but we manage to put a roof over everyone’s heads, with tents or mattresses in the corridors and so on,” Galipo added.