Almost 7,000 Migrants Invade Italian Island With Just A Few Thousand Residents


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Thousands of migrants arrived by boat and flooded the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa on Wednesday, RaiNews’ Angela Caponnetto reported.

The migrants started pouring in early Tuesday morning, arriving in a procession of flimsy metal boats that departed from Tunisia, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

Approximately 6,800 migrants engulfed the small town, outnumbering the island’s entire population, which is just under 6,300, according to the island’s official website. (RELATED: Italy Declares National Emergency As Migrants Pour Off Boats, Flood Shelters)

Over 120 boats had arrived to the island by Wednesday, Transportation Minister Matteo Salvini said, according to the AP.

With the local Coast Guard overwhelmed by the sheer numbers, many migrants reportedly simply climbed upon coastal rocks to get ashore. One rescue operation went sour, and a 5-month-old baby drowned, Reuters reported.

Italian authorities say a bottleneck in Tunisia caused the influx. Tunisia has become a popular departure point for migrants seeking European entry, according to the AP. Poor weather conditions prevented smugglers from launching boats for a few days, resulting in a backlog that wound up on Italy’s shores, per The AP.

124,000 migrants have reached Italy this year, almost double the number of migrants that had entered the country by this time last year, The AP reported.

Lampedusa, located closer to mainland Africa than Europe, has long been a landing point for migrants coming from North Africa, Dan Kochis, a senior analyst at the Heritage Foundation, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni made immigration and Italy’s migrant crisis a tentpole of her successful 2022 campaign.

Meloni has sought to bring an end to the crisis, visiting Tunisia in July to offer over $1 billion in aid in an attempt to stabilize the region, The AP reported.