LAMPEDUSA BOAT DISASTER : DIVERS DISCOVER MORE BODIES. AROUND 83 BODIES WERE FOUND YESTERDAY BRINGING THE TOTAL OF VICTIMS TO 194. FRANCE AS REQUESTED AN URGENT EU MEETING AFTER ITALY ASKED FOR HELP TO DEAL WITH THE INFLUX OF MIGRANTS.
Just to recap a bit what has happened, last thursday morning a 20 meters vessel began taking on water when its motor stopped as it neared Lampedusa island. Some of those on board then reportedly set fire to a piece of material to try to attract the attention of passing ships, only to have the fire spread to the rest of the boat.
The boat with around 500 people on board – which set sail from the Libyan port of Misrata – is thought to have capsized when everyone moved to one side.Around 83 bodies were retrieved yesterday, bringing the total of confirmed victims to 194. More than 200 people are still reported to be missing
Rescue teams in charge of search operations to recover bodies from the sea have been criticised for the way they have responded to the accident. Somebody has pointed out that there have been huge delays in the way italy’s coast guard has dealt with the emergency.
The accident has been widely debated on a political level. Mainly to identify who is to blame and why. is this a problem of the Italian government or of Europe because the system as a whole is failing to tackle the issue.
Italian prime minister Enrico Letta’s centre-left Democratic party called on the EU to set up “humanitarian corridors” to provide protection for migrant boats.Also the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has said that it’s time for Europe to take action to fight this problem. Also France is urging Europe to help italy dealing with the issue.
The anti-immigrant Northern League blamed the country’s first black minister, Kyenge, for giving “dangerous” encouragement to migrants with her calls for softening the immigration rules.
Other politicians instead including Renzi have criticised the so called Bossi – Fini law that was passed in 2002 and that imposes a number of very strict rules on immigration. (for example authorities are allowed to reject immigrants that are coming from the extra territorial sea waters)
Let’s remind ourselves that 80 % of those arriving on Italian shores plan to make a new life in the UK, British investigators estimate. Despite EU rules that forbid asylum seekers from leaving the country that they arrive in, twenty per cent eventually settle in the UK. 30.100 is the people that arrived on the italian shores this year. Most of them come from conflict zones like Lybia or Syria.