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Warning over migrant exodus to Europe

Warning over migrant exodus to Europe
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There is a warning from the Italian island of Lampedusa that despite an increased flow of migrants arriving from Tunisia, the real exodus from North Africa has not yet begun.

Italian authorities have escorted dozens of boats into port over the last few days, with more than 1,000 passengers disembarking since Monday afternoon.

But a worker for the UN’s refugee agency said: “This is no exodus at the moment. About 7,000 Tunisians have arrived since January. We want to be ready for a possible influx from Libya.”

Italian authorities are trying to move as many migrants as possible to other centres in Sicily and on the mainland to relieve the growing pressure.

A senior official in Lampedusa told euronews his reception centre is overflowing, currently housing 1,600 people in a facility designed for 850.

The traffic has picked up in recent days, encouraged by a lull in severe weather.

Lampedusa has been a main migration gateway to Europe for many years. A dot in the Mediterranean, it is closer to Africa’s shores than to Italy’s.