Arrivals on Lampedusa

Since the 1990s, Italy, and the Trapani and Lampedusa coastlines in particular, have been landing points for immigrants coming from Tunisia. Today, with the northern African political crises and in particular the conflict in Libya, displaced populations and immigrants have arrived from all over the Maghreb area, including sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, Sicily is a hub for Mediterranean migrants.

Lampedusa became a prime transit point for illegal immigrants in the early 2000s from Africa, the Middle East and Asia wanting to enter Europe. The temporary immigrant reception centre was originally built for a maximum capacity of 850 people. 

Arrivals registered in Lampedusa:

2003: 8800 

2004: 10477 

2005: 15527

2006: 18047 

2007: 11749  

2008: 31250 (86% men and 14% women)

2009-2010: A few hundreds due to a bilateral agreement between Italy and Libya

2011: 60:000 (from Tunisia and Libya following the Arab spring)

2012: 15:000

2013: 15:000 ca. On 3 October, near a beach once declared the "world's best", a boat packed with more than 500 Eritrean men, women and children caught fire and capsized. Only 155 people survived, and 364 bodies have since been recovered. It was one of the worst disasters to occur in the Mediterranean in recent years. July Pope Francis visits Lampedusa  to meet and pray for migrants.

2014: Immigration centre on Lampedusa closed. About 130,000 migrants have arrived on Italy’s shores and 2,400 have died while trying to get here. These migrants come predominantly from Eritrea, Syria, Mali, Sudan, Somalia, etc: war zones rather than areas of poverty.

© Ruud and Bridget 2014