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573 migrants arrive on Italy's Lampedusa island

Published : 28 Nov 2023, 02:30

  DF News Desk
File Photo: Xinhua.

A fishing vessel with 573 migrants aboard landed on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa on Monday after being towed ashore by the Italian Coast Guard, reported Xinhua.

It is the fourth major landing of migrants on the island this month. Local media reported that the migrants had set off from Libya. They arrived at a migrant processing center on Lampedusa designed to house around 400 people.

With the latest arrivals, the total number of migrants landing on Italy's shores this year topped 150,000, according to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). With only five weeks left to go this year, the figure is more than in any other complete year since 2016.

As of Monday, the UNHCR said that at least 2,659 people had died or gone missing crossing the Mediterranean route to European countries, around 220 more than in all of last year.

More than 60 percent of migrants using the Mediterranean route to arrive in the European Union this year have landed in Italy, and 85 percent of those arriving in Italy landed on the island region of Sicily -- almost all of them on Lampedusa, a small island located between Sicily and Tunisia.

On Nov. 20, more than 800 people landed on Lampedusa in one day. The following day, a woman and a two-year-old girl died, and at least eight others went missing when two smaller vessels sank off the coast of Lampedusa.

For years, the North African country of Libya was the most popular launching point for migrant boats. However, after the European Union began supporting Libya to enhance its coastal patrols to prevent vessels from setting off for Europe, Tunisia became the most common departure point for migrants on the deadly Mediterranean route.

UNHCR figures show that through the end of October, 19 percent of migrant arrivals in Italy were from Syria, slightly more than those from Bangladesh, Tunisia and Egypt, both accounting for over 13 percent of the total, were the third and fourth most common countries of origin.