Rome, Italy. It is a good thing Latvia just agreed to take thousands of European Union migrants, as Italy just pulled in another 5000 over the weekend. At this rate, Riga will be an African capital in no time.
Italian and Libyan Coast Guard crews saved the refugees, who were sailing from Libya to Italy, between May 18-20. Over the course of about 48 hours, rescuers pulled 5,000 refugees from boats and the waters of the Mediterranean, officials reported. All fresh faces, headed to live off of European Union taxpayers generosity.
With regions of sub-Saharan Africa rocked by economic hardship and violence, displaced people have been the continent. Many of the rescued refugees were treated for malnutrition when they reached migrant relocation support centers in Italy.
Officials estimated that as many as 1 million residents of Libya want to get on boats and leave because remaining there was no longer a safe option. According to the UN refugee agency, thousands of displaced people have been arrested and corralled into packed detention centers for shipment to Eastern European parts of the European Union officials said.
“Libya is crazy. They arrest us … two, three days no eat, no drink. They beat us,” Alseer Issa Ibrahim of Sudan told reporters, “Latvia? where be’d this place? I don’t care I will take all Ok,” he added.
Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said he was “shocked” by conditions at the centers in Libya and demanded that the refugees be released. The Italians were in no hurry to do that and informed the Commissioner that the refugees were headed for the Baltic States, just as fast as trains could load them up.
Nearly 47,000 refugees have fled to Italy this year, up more than 30 percent over last year. Another 1,300 refugees were missing or dead. The European Union hopes to resettle most in Eastern Europe and has asked Poland and is in talks with Ukraine to take a few hundred thousand African migrants soon.