IOM: New Migrant Arrivals on Lampedusa Lead to Massive Overcrowding

Full text:  “IOM Press Note – Monday 21 March 2011 – New Migrant Arrivals on Lampedusa Lead to Massive Overcrowding —  The arrival of more than 1,630 irregular migrants on the Italian island of Lampedusa on Sunday 20 March and overnight Monday 21st has led to massive overcrowding at the migrant reception centre where IOM and partners monitor reception assistance and provide legal counselling to migrants, asylum-seekers and unaccompanied minors.

With the weekend’s arrival of Tunisian migrants bringing the current number of migrants on Lampedusa to nearly 4,780 and the reception centre built to host 800 people, migrants are being hosted wherever possible around the island.

This includes about 2,000 migrants at the port area which doesn’t have the sanitation facilities needed to host such numbers of people and who for the past few days have been sleeping in the open without adequate protection from the elements and in whatever space they can find.

Among the nearly 4,780 migrants on Lampedusa are about 200 minors. IOM and UNHCR worked with partner Save the Children to find suitable accommodation for all the minors who have arrived in recent days and who could not be left to sleep at the pier with no blankets or mattresses.

IOM also found safe accommodation for 13 women away from the overcrowded reception centre.

With boat landings taking place during the day and night, IOM and partners are working in shifts to ensure assistance is provided 24 hours a day.

Staff report that the situation on the island, which has a population of 5,000, is critical and tense and that rapid transfers to other migrant reception centres elsewhere in Italy are essential.

Since February, around 14,000 Tunisian migrants have arrived on Lampedusa. With migrant reception centres in Puglia in southern Italy and on Sicily also fairly full, Italian authorities have established a centre at an ex-NATO base residence at Mineo on Sicily.

From today, 21 March, IOM staff will be present at Mineo where, as part of an Italian government funded project, the Organization will provide legal counselling to migrants and monitor reception assistance.

The vast majority of the migrants who have arrived on Lampedusa are young men who have left Tunisia either to find employment in Europe or to be united with families. For further information, please contact Flavio di Giacomo, IOM Rome, email: – Tel: + or +39.347.089.89.96

For additional information:

Jemini Pandya Tel : 41 22 717 9486 – Mobile : 41 79 217 33 74, Email :

Jumbe Omari Jumbe Tel: 41 22 717 9405 – Mobile: 41 79 812 77 34, Email:

ISDN Line : 41 22 788 38 61″

I don’t have a link to this press briefing other than the following google docs link here. First posted on Euromed-MigrAsyl.

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Filed under European Union, Italy, Mediterranean, News, Statements, Tunisia

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