Recently, more boat refugees than ever before arrived on the island in a single day. The situation is chaotic – then disaster happens.
After fleeing with his mother across the Mediterranean, a five-month-old child drowned upon arrival on the Italian island of Lampedusa. The infant fell into the water as the coast guard tried to bring 46 migrants from a boat to shore.
The Italian news agency Ansa reported chaotic scenes. Other people also ended up in the water but were able to save themselves. However, any help came too late for the small child.
Record numbers in Lampedusa
Lampedusa is located between Sicily and North Africa, almost 190 kilometers from the coastal city of Sfax in Tunisia. On Tuesday alone, around 2,500 boat refugees arrived on the island – more than ever before in a single day.
At times there was a long line of small metal boats waiting to dock in front of the harbor pier. The initial reception center on Lampedusa, which actually has space for 400 people, is once again completely overcrowded.
Escape from Guinea
According to the authorities, the family to which the drowned child belonged had made its way to Europe from the West African country of Guinea. The mother is a minor. She is now receiving psychological support. Their boat – like most refugee boats – came from Sfax. There are currently around 6,800 migrants in Lampedusa who will later be brought to the mainland.
According to the Italian Ministry of the Interior, a total of more than 118,000 people have arrived in the country via the Mediterranean since the beginning of the year. Last year there were around 64,000 by mid-September. Accidents with fatalities occur again and again on these highly dangerous crossings.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.