NIn the last 24 hours, there were 17 landings, the last during the night, when 137 migrants arrived on the island of Lampedusa aboard three seven-meter boats carrying 68, 15 and 54 people, the Italian press reported today.

The two largest groups, made up of Bengalis, Egyptians, Eritreans, Pakistanis, Syrians and Ethiopians, reported to members of the humanitarian organization that rescued them that they had left Zuara (Libya), after paying 6,000 euros, while the group of 15 migrants stated having set sail on Tuesday morning from Sfax (Tunisia), a trip that cost each person 1,500 euros.

On Tuesday, 14 landings were also recorded, with a total of 482 migrants.

In the next few hours, the ship “Sea Watch5”, which on December 24 rescued 119 migrants in the waters of the Central Mediterranean, will also arrive in Marina di Carrara.

The non-governmental organization (NGO) that manages the ship, the German Sea Watch, regretted that the Italian authorities had sent them to such a distant port.

“It is approximately 1,150 kilometers away. The purpose of these distant ports is to keep rescue ships away from the area of ​​operations so that they cannot save other people in difficulty”, criticized the NGO.

Meanwhile, the ship from the Spanish NGO Open Arms is also heading to the Central Mediterranean for a new migrant rescue operation.

According to data updated on December 22, 153,677 migrants have already reached the Italian coast this year, half of which were unaided and the other half rescued by Italian patrol boats.

The number of migrants who were helped by humanitarian rescue ships did not reach 6,000.

According to the spokesperson for the Mediterranean Coordination Office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Flavio di Giacomo, “2,271 people died this year in the Central Mediterranean, 60% more than in the same period last year (1,413)” .

The Central Mediterranean migratory route runs mainly from Tunisia, Algeria and Libya towards Italy and Malta and is considered one of the deadliest migratory routes in the world.

Closer to the African coast than the Italian region of Sicily, to which it administratively belongs, the small island of Lampedusa, with 20 square kilometers and around six thousand inhabitants, has become one of the main points of entry into Europe for irregular migrants, mostly sub-Saharan people, who cross the Mediterranean in precarious vessels operated by trafficking networks.

Read Also: More than 2.2 million people arrived at the US southern border this year

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