Rome (NEV), March 22, 2017 – On the only day of Monday 20th of March, more than 520 migrants have landed in Lampedusa, the tiny Sicilian isle in front of the African Continent. Awaiting for them on the dock also the operators of Mediterranean Hope (MH), the project of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI), which in 2014 started an observatory on the island. “The landing operations started around 3AM of March 20th and continued all day long, up to 23 PM – said to NEV Press Agency, Alberto Mallardo, MH operator -. Although the conditions were generally good, the arrived migrants were exhausted, many had difficulties in walking, they had cramps and were shivering with cold. As usual, we offered them hot tea, water and fruit juices, but also thermal blankets and a smile. Once again, many young people in front of us, men and women, several children including a five months baby accompanied by its parents”.
The good sea and weather conditions helped 3500 people to leave north-western Libya for the Italian coasts from Sunday dawn and for the whole day of Monday; 25 rescue operations were coordinated by the General Command of the Coast Guard, assisted by the European Union mission Eunavformed and by private lifeboats. Up to now, 38 are the confirmed victims. “To avoid that thousands of people are forced to risk their lives first in the Libyan hell and second at sea – said Mallardo – from Lampedusa we renew our call for legal and safe ways that enable vulnerable people to reach Europe without having to rely on traffickers”.
The Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI), together with the Community of Sant’Egidio and the Waldensian Board, in a year, thanks to its pilot project of ‘humanitarian corridors’ has brought 700 refugees, mostly Syrians, from Lebanon to Italy.