Sicily to Build Migrant Tent City as Island Overwhelmed with Arrivals

Migrants from Lybia wait to disembark from Italy's Guardia Costiera (Coast Guard) boat in the Italian Pelagie Island of Lampedusa on July 31, 2020. - The reception centre on the island is already overcrowded with migrants who have been arriving daily by the hundreds in recent weeks. (Photo by Alberto …

The Italian government has begun constructing a tent city to house newly arrived migrants in Sicily as the island’s reception centres are full due to the recent surge in landings.

The tent city is set to be located in a former military area in the town of Vizzini, a part of the Metropolitan City of Catania. A number of populist anti-mass migration parties have slammed the proposals, accusing the government of not consulting with local authorities.

Fireband Giorgia Meloni, leader of the national-conservative Brothers of Italy (FdI), said the tent city is likely to hold hundreds of migrants. She criticised the leftist coalition of the Democratic Party and the Five Star Movement (M5S), accusing them of having pro-mass migration policies, Il Giornale reports.

FdI and populist Senator Matteo Salvini’s League have both sworn to organise sit-ins and flash mobs to protest the tent city over the next few days.

Stefano Candiani, regional secretary for the League in Sicily, stated: “In a land where services and infrastructure for Sicilians are slowing down, it is truly paradoxical that a mega tent city for migrants should be set up in a matter of days.”

Candiani compared the new camp to the former Cara di Mineo camp, formerly the largest migrant camp in Europe that held up to 4,000 people. Matteo Salvini closed the camp in 2019 while he served as Italian Interior Minister.

Salvini also commented on the new tent city, saying: “In Cara di Mineo there were 4,000 people: I closed it after four years. Reopening it won’t happen, so they’re trying to set up one next door. After we return to the government, everything they open in this period, we will close it.”

As migrants continue to storm Sicily and the island of Lampedusa, many remain concerned that illegal migrants could spread coronavirus and cause a new wave of infections across Italy.

Several incoming migrants have tested positive for the Chinese virus, including over 130 migrants who were transferred to a migrant reception centre in the north of Italy.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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