VENTURES AFRICA – The massive arrival of Africans to Italy through the Mediterranean Sea has caused a huge migrant crisis in Europe, with the Italian interior ministry ringing alarm bells that this exodus could reach 200,000 people by the end of this year.
Over 10,000 migrants have arrived Italy this monthly alone. They hail from several African countries dominated by Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan. The migrants, fleeing political instability and economic hardship in their homeland, embark on this expedition for greener pastures from Libya. However the journey is also very dangerous; up to 1000 persons are feared to have died from drowning in April, though the risk of death is doing little to discourage voyagers, as their numbers keep rising.
The Italian interior ministry warned Europe that as many as 5,000 migrants could arrive weekly by sea unless something is done quickly. Analysts say the massive migration is encouraged by the good weather in the Mediterranean, and, more importantly, because of the growing lawlessness and anarchy in Libya. In the weekend, one of the migrant boats sank on its way to Italy, leaving up to 900 people feared dead.
The deaths, considered the worst disaster ever among migrants fleeing to Europe by sea, has prompted calls in the Europe for a joint action to stop the flow of migrants fleeing war and hardship in Africa.
Last year, Italy shut down its naval mission on the Mediterranean, after other EU countries refused to pay for it. The mission, code-named “Mare Nostrum” is credited with saving the lives of more than 100,000 migrants last year. However, the EU has now agreed to restart the Italian naval mission. It was replaced with a smaller EU scheme whose main focus is to patrol the bloc’s borders, after some countries argued saving migrants encouraged more to come.