Faced with a virtual flood of migrants and refugees from war-worn areas of Africa, Italy has threatened to close all its ports to ships of foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) bringing the people to Italy.
The threat came as the country was overwhelmed by the arrival of 12,000 migrants on 22 ships in a four-day period. The ships come across the Mediterranean Sea from Libya. Last Thursday, in the Italian port of Reggio Calabria, 1,066 people disembarked from a Save the Children rescue ship. Included among them were 241 unaccompanied minors.
Adding to the problem are people smugglers who attempt the dangerous crossing in less than seaworthy vessels. These efforts sometimes require the assistance of the Italian Coast Guard to avoid a significant loss of life.
Find out how Italian authorities are reacting to the crisis and learn about their desperate plea for help to the European Union (EU). In addition, the EU is coping with some members’ refusal to take refugees out of concern about terrorist infiltration. The story continues on the next page.