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Italy declares state of emergency over migrant surge

Italy’s right-wing government has declared a six-month national state of emergency to check influx of migrants into the country’s southern shores, State TV said.

Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni and her cabinet approved imposing the emergency status to deal with the migrant influx.

Initial funding of €5 million was also approved as part of the measure.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Italy’s governing coalitions also imposed a state of emergency, enabling the cabinet to mandate many coping measures by decree, temporarily bypassing the usually long parliamentary process for funding and regulations.

According to Interior Ministry, since the start of this year, some 31,000 migrants, either rescued by Italian military boats or charity ships or reaching Italy without assistance, That is nearly four times the roughly 8,000 for the same period in each of the two previous years.

The facility on Lampedusa which shelters migrants so they can be provisionally identified as a first step toward any asylum application, was reeling under the relentless stream of arrivals.

The shelter is meant to accommodate about 350-400 people, but in recent days, there were 3,000. Italy chartered empty commercial ferries to transfer hundreds of them to Sicily or the mainland.

According to the Interior Minister’s tally, the biggest number of migrants arriving so far this year are from Ivory Coast, followed by people from Guinea, Pakistan, Egypt, Tunisia and Bangladesh,

Writing by Julian Osamoto; Editing by Adeniyi Bakare