Immigration: five dead in new Sicily Strait shipwreck

85,000 arrivals in 2014. Alfano, holding centers near collapse

21 July, 20:34

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, JULY 21 - Five migrants have died in a new shipwreck in the Channel of Sicily. Their bodies were found as part of a rescue operation of a sinking dinghy. Overall, 61 immigrants were rescued. The survivors said about 80 people were on board the dinghy.

    According to official sources, the updated toll of arrivals is astounding - 85,000 people have landed on Italian shores in 2014, mainly Eritreans (22,000), and Syrians (15,000), as well as migrants from Gambia, Mali and Nigeria. Asylum applications so far have been 25,000. The interior ministry's migrant holding centers organized by municipalities currently host 40,000 people.

    ''Italy will continue to welcome immigrants until it will be able to do so'', Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said during a visit to CastelVolturno, near Caserta. Some centers are ''collapsing'' due to overcrowding, said defense undersecretary Gioacchino Alfano during the visit to Castel Volturno.

    ''It is necessary to provide for measures to intervene in countries from which these people are fleeing, together with Europe'', Alfano continued. ''We must convince them to stay there. However, the Italian government will certainly do everything it can to welcome these people''. (ANSAmed)
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