Italian authorities rescued over 1,500 asylum-seekers on Saturday. The work required four coastguard boats and an Italian navy ship.
The vessels intercepted distressed calls from three boats off the Libyan coast. As they rescued the people, the officials noticed “two other asylum-seeker boats in difficulty nearby.” The Italians took the refugees to Lampedusa or ports in Sicily.
The Icelandic Navy brought 318 asylum-seekers to Sicily after the officials rescued them off the Libyan coast. The rescue included five pregnant women and 14 children. Maltese officials transported one pregnant woman “to Mater Dei Hospital in an ambulance for urgent medical attention.” Malta Today did not provide more details about the exact problems the woman experienced. The publication believes the migrants are “from Sudan, Ghana, Morocco, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria, Palestine, Eritrea, India and Tunisia.”
As war continues in the Middle East and North Africa, the European Union is experiencing a rise in refugees. The majority of these people choose to come through Italy, which saw 64,625 applications for refugee status in 2014. The country only saw 26,620 applications in 2013. Over 9,000 migrants landed in Italy in January and February this year. As Breitbart London pointed out in March, the situation is only getting worse.
An unarmed Italian coastguard ship encountered “a gang of machine-gun carrying Libyans,” who demanded the officials “return their smuggling boats after the refugees” boarded the vessel. This caused the Italian government to arm “all 11,000 members of the Coastguard.”
The rise of migrants is causing waves in Italian society. Government officials moved migrants away from one asylum center after locals burned it down because they faced eviction. Last year, locals targeted the center after rumors swirled the migrants sexually abused local girls.
On March 11, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano proposed “migrant screening and processing centres in Africa.” He believes this will ease the burden on all European Union countries. At the refugee camps, “asylum seekers could be identified and then distributed evenly throughout European states.”