Irregular migrant arrivals in Italy through the Mediterranean route have more than doubled in 2023 compared to the same period last year, a report reveals.
From January to July, Italy recorded 89,158 irregular migrant arrivals on its shores, a substantial increase from 41,435 in 2022, indicating a 115.18% surge. Tunisia emerged as the primary departure country to Italy in 2023, as reported by the state-run ANSA news agency.
In response to the rise in irregular migrant arrivals and their perilous journey, Italy has intensified its search and rescue efforts. During this period, 64,764 (72.64%) irregular migrants were rescued from sea arrivals and brought to Italian shores, over three times the number rescued from January to July 2022, which stood at 19,171.
Concurrently, asylum applications saw a 70.59% increase, reaching 72,460.
Among these, 2,561 irregular migrants had their asylum requests rejected and were subsequently repatriated to their home countries.
Tunisia has become a significant departure point for migrants aiming to cross from Africa to Europe. European authorities are offering increased aid to Tunisia in efforts to mitigate this migration flow. Many migrants are from sub-Saharan Africa, while others are from Tunisia itself, which is grappling with a severe economic crisis.
Tunisian authorities have been intercepting numerous individuals attempting to leave via boats off the coastal city of Sfax. The president of Tunisia has expressed reluctance for his country to serve as Europe’s border guard or a resettlement destination for migrants in light of deadly migration incidents at sea.
Source: Daily Sabah