(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
A record number of refugees from North Africa arrived to Italy’s shores by boat this year.
The Italian coastguard on Monday reported that 1,4000 refugees on 11 dinghies were rescued in the Mediterranean in addition to two small boats just off the Libyan shores.
In 2014, Italy saw about 170,000 refugees arriving which was the record up until recently when italy confirmed that so far this year 171,000 refugees have arrived to Italy.
Close to 4,690 refugees died on the journey across the Mediterranean or went missing this year alone, which is more than last year by at least 1,000, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration.
The drastic increase in the number of refugees arriving to Italy has put a great amount of pressure on the country’s asylum centres.
Over 176,000 refugees are now living in these centres across Italy.
Most refugees in Italy are originally from Sub-Saharan Africa, said the Italian interior ministry. 36,000 are from Nigeria, 20,000 from Eritrea and 12,000 are from Guinea.
Some reports suggest that most refugees plan to make their way to Germany and Sweden, which are considered to be the popular destinations for refugees.
Thousands of refugees used to make their way to Europe from Turkey to Greece, however, when that route was closed after an agreement was signed between the EU and Turkey in March, refugees began taking the route from Libya to Italy.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he is willing to consider reopening the route from Turkey to Greece if the EU puts talks about Turkey joining the European Union on hold.
Some of the organizations that have been involved in rescue missions on the Mediterranean include MOAS, MSF, Save the Children, the Libyan coast guard and naval and the coast guard vessels of other European countries.