More than 500 migrants arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa on Saturday, with several of them allegedly showing signs of abuse and torture.
The 539 people were aboard a single fishing boat that was found drifting nearly nine miles off the coast of Lampedusa and was called one the largest single landings in recent memory by the island’s mayor, Toto Martello.
“Once again, Lampedusa is preparing to face the burden of humanitarian reception alone,” Mayor Martello said, newspaper Corriere Sella Sera reports.
539 migrants were rescued off Lampedusa yesterday in 'one of the biggest ever rescues': at least 20 people bore scars from torture in Libya 🇱🇾
via @Independent: https://t.co/617r4NFlqq pic.twitter.com/SqdVM5fVxW
— ECRE (@ecre) August 30, 2021
Among the arrivals, said to have come from Syria, Bangladesh, North and West Africa, were 29 minors. On Sunday, around 375 of the migrants were subjected to coronavirus tests and were expected to be transferred to Pozzallo on the Sicilian mainland.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) spokesman Flavio di Giacomo, several of those who disembarked showed signs of violence and torture.
“We will never get used to seeing the signs of violence that people coming from Libya carry on their skin. The signs of beatings, burns, scars, torture they present are unjustifiable and unacceptable,” he said on Twitter on Monday.
Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières/MSF) nurse Alida Serrachieri added that at least 20 migrants showed signs of violence, telling the Associated Press: “They had burn wounds, firearms wounds.”
Italy Saw Nearly 50k Migrant Arrivals This Year, Up 128% https://t.co/ckL2Oilc52
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 18, 2021
The new large scale landing comes just days after reports noted that the reception centre in Lampedusa was completely overwhelmed due to the constant influx of new arrivals.
The Lampedusa reception centre, which is built to accommodate just 250 people, was overflowing because at least 900 migrants were being housed in the facility last week.
The overcrowding has led to migrants being forced to live in increasingly cramped spaces, while others have been placed on mattresses outside.
From August 1st, 2020, to July 31st, 2021, Italy has seen nearly 50,000 migrants arrive illegally, up 128 per cent compared to the prior year.