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Hundreds of migrants land on Italy's Lampedusa


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Hundreds of migrants land on Italy's Lampedusa

2011-08-17 02:43:59 GMT+7 (ICT)

LAMPEDUSA, ITALY (BNO NEWS) -- Hundreds of migrants arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa on Tuesday, bringing to nearly 2,500 the number of migrants who arrived at the island in the last three days, the ANSA news agency reported.

Coast Guard officials and police were transferring the new arrivals to the island's migrant reception center, which is currently hosting 1,180 migrants. Tuesday's arrivals followed the transfer of 450 people who arrived at Lampedusa on Monday.

Since the beginning of February, the island of Lampedusa has been overwhelmed by the arrival of around 40,000 migrants. The majority of them were Tunisian, but many Libyans fleeing their conflict-ridden country have now also landed on the island.

A spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Adrian Edwards, told reporters in Geneva that almost 2,000 people arrived on Lampedusa over the weekend from Libya and Tunisia. He said at least 1,800, including some 200 women and 30 children, set sail from Janzour, 12 kilometers (7.45 miles) west of the Libyan city of Tripoli.

According to the UNHCR, of the 52,000 people who have arrived in Italy as part of this year's North Africa outflow, 27,000 departed from Libya and the rest from Tunisia. More than 1,500 people have lost their lives attempting to reach Italy's shores, often because of unseaworthy vessels and an absence of qualified skippers onboard.

Earlier this month, 25 people were found dead on a boat carrying hundreds of refugees off Lampedusa. It followed a disaster in April when a boat carrying around 300 migrants sank off the island, killing all but around 50 people. The boat had earlier left the Libyan coast with migrants and asylum seekers from Somalia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Côte d'Ivoire, Chad and Sudan.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-08-17

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