The city council of the Italian Mediterranean island of Lampedusa has declared a state of emergency in view of thousands of newly arrived boat migrants. Mayor Filippo Mannino announced this in the evening, as reported by the Ansa news agency. He called for more support for the small island, which is under “great stress”. The citizens of Lampedusa are desperate. “Everyone has helped in some way the migrants who needed help. But now it’s really time to look for a structural solution,” Mannino continued. It is still unclear what specific effects the declaration of a state of emergency will have in the municipality.

Thousands of boat migrants have reached the island between Sicily and North Africa since Monday – more than 5,000 people arrived on Tuesday alone, according to figures from the Interior Ministry in Rome. Italy’s right-wing government decided on a nationwide state of emergency in April due to the high number of migrants via the Mediterranean route.

Focus of migration to Europe

Lampedusa is located 190 kilometers from the Tunisian coastal city of Sfax and has been one of the hotspots of migration to Europe for years. The initial reception center there, with space for around 400 people, is again completely overcrowded. Almost 6,800 migrants are currently on the island – most of them in the camp.

The situation at the harbor came to a head on Wednesday afternoon. According to consistent media reports, hundreds of migrants tried to leave the port and break through barriers. As seen on videos, the police pushed people back. The responsible financial police did not want to comment on this when asked in the evening.