Italy’s right-wing government has declared a six-month national state of emergency to help it cope with a surge in migrants arriving on the country’s southern shores.
State TV said a special commissioner was expected to be named. Initial funding of 5 million euros (nearly $5.5 million) was also approved as part of the measure approved by Premier Giorgia Meloni and her Cabinet.
In a statement after the Cabinet meeting, the government said the state of emergency was deemed necessary “to carry out with urgency extraordinary measures to reduce congestion” at an overwhelmed migrant shelter on a tiny Italian island in the Mediterranean.
Also needed are “new structures, suitable both for sheltering as well as the processing and repatriation of migrants who don’t have the requisites to stay” in Italy, the government statement said.
Since the start of this year, some 31,000 migrants, either rescued by Italian military boats or charity ships or reaching Italy without assistance, have disembarked, according to Interior Ministry figures. That’s nearly four times the roughly 8,000 for the same period in each of the two previous years.