In the reception center for migrants in Porto Empedocles in the south of Sicily, where a large number of migrants were transferred from the island of Lampedusa a few days ago, chaos reigns today due to overcrowding. At least a hundred defectors left the center on their own accord. Meanwhile, in Rome, the Italian government is discussing further measures to deal with the migration crisis.
At least a hundred migrants scaled the fence of the reception center, where more than a thousand people were said to be staying, and left, injuring at least one police officer, the Italian news agency Ansa reported. The center in Porto Empedoclo is otherwise transitory in nature. From there, the migrants were supposed to be transferred to centers in other parts of Italy, but there were delays due to transport problems.
The defectors who left the center arbitrarily are now being sought by the police. The mayor of Porto Empedocla, Calogero Martello, was critical of the conditions in the center, calling them intolerable and inhumane. “They didn’t run away to go to other places, but to find food and drink,” he told Italian news portal RaiNews, appealing for government help.
He added that groups of migrants walking around the city instilled fear among local residents. According to Ansa, the overcrowded reception center is guarded by only about 20 police officers.
Meanwhile, the Italian government is meeting in Rome to discuss the situation on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, where more than eight thousand migrants arrived last week, which is more than the population of the island. Several thousand migrants were then transported to Sicily, including the center in Porto Empedocles, and other parts of Italy.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Italian Prime Minister Giorgio Meloni visited Lampedusa, where a state of emergency was declared due to the migration wave, on Sunday. Von der Leynova assured Italy of EU support and presented an action plan to resolve the crisis.