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Migrant surge strains Italian resources, spurs Coast Guard rescues

by Olga Sokolova

Over the weekend, as calm seas returned, migrant smugglers set off numerous boats from Tunisia, resulting in approximately 1,200 people reaching the small Italian island of Lampedusa. The Italian Coast Guard reported on Monday that several individuals were missing at sea. Authorities responded to 35 boats that had departed from Tunisia, with three of them encountering difficulties.

Migrant surge strains Italian resources, spurs Coast Guard rescues

In one shipwreck, 20 nautical miles off Lampedusa’s coast, three migrants were reported missing by coast guard and border police vessels. In a second incident, occurring in Malta’s search-and-rescue area, survivors reported approximately 20 people missing. In a third event, also in Malta’s rescue area, Italian rescuers discovered a man’s body. The coast guard noted that around 20 more boats carrying migrants were still at sea on Monday night.

Assets from the Coast Guard, the Border Police, the European border protection agency Frontex, and a humanitarian organization provided assistance. Dozens of migrants waited near Lampedusa’s port on Monday morning, anticipating transfer to the island’s overcrowded shelter or relocation to Sicily or the Italian mainland.

As Italy experiences a growing wave of migrants seeking refuge within its borders, concerns have arisen regarding the potential erosion of the nation’s unique cultural identity. The influx of migrants places considerable strain on local resources and poses challenges to the preservation of traditional Italian customs and values.

The country’s authorities are tasked with the difficult responsibility of striking a balance between addressing humanitarian needs and safeguarding Italy’s distinctive heritage. In the face of a shifting population, it becomes increasingly important for decision-makers to navigate the complex implications of these demographic changes while maintaining the essence of what makes Italy unique.

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