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Italy moves to solve Lampedusa crisis

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Italy moves to solve Lampedusa crisis


Italy’s prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has promised to evacuate thousands of migrants arriving on the island of Lampedusa from North Africa within days. To get a better idea of the humanitarian crisis on the island, Euronews’ Enrico Bona spoke with Cono Galipo, head of the migrant holding centre on Lampedusa.
Euronews: Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has promised to return Lampedusa to the Lampedusians in two to three days. In your opinion, is that realistic, if the boats continue arriving, which seems probable?’‘
Cono Galipo: ‘‘For me yes, this commitment is achievable, just so long as the migrants are transferred as and when they arrive. If there are a thousand in one day, then a thousand will have to be transferred. Otherwise, in a few weeks we’ll be back to where we started. Premier Berlusconi’s promises are precise. He’s said that for each new landing there will be ships ready to transfer the migrants who arrive. In that respect, I think we can rest easy. Lampedusians will get their island back.’‘
euronews: ‘‘What do you think about the lack of willingness shown by other Italian regions to accept the refugees from Lampedusa?’‘
Cono Galipo: ‘‘In terms of this viewpoint, I think that Italy is a large country and I am sure that all the regions will make an effort to host and help a certain number of migrants. There is a government plan, and I think in the next few hours that will become operational. I am therefore sure that every regional leader will do their part.’‘
euronews: ‘‘What’s the current situation on the island. Are people continuing to sleep in makeshift shelters. Do they have food and water?’‘
Cono Galipo: ‘‘First of all, we can reassure everyone that there is no problem with either food or water. Both water and food have been provided to everybody. In regards to the rest, we are in an emergency situation. We have a centre that can accommodate 850 people. Currently, there are 5800 people. Yesterday evening there were 6200. I’ll therefore leave you to imagine what the organisational difficulties are to offer the level of hospitality, we’re used to offering.’‘
euronews: ‘‘Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano has said Lampedusa is not only Italy’s southern border but also Europe’s. What help do you expect from Europe?’‘
Cono Galipo: ‘‘I believe Europe, as well as Italy, has to make an effort to take the migrants from Lampedusa. Surely, there will a number of parties involved from the information we’re receiving on a daily basis from the government and the interior ministry. The effort has to be robust to transfer the migrants from Lampedusa, because if they arrive here and they are not transferred elsewhere, we’re going to have a great deal of difficulties.’‘
euronews: ‘‘Cono Galipo, head of the migrant holding centre on Lampedusa, thank you for being with us.’‘  

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