500 migrants arrive on the island

On Tuesday night 500 migrant people arrived on the island in an operation involving no less than five search and rescue vessels. As the fair weather and favourable sea conditions prevail more migrant people putting to sea in the coming days is expected.

Today, as we went to the harbour to meet members of the Sea Watch crew arriving by ferry, a group of migrant people sat patiently in wait for their onward journey to mainland Italy. We spoke to two young men from Eritrea who described the long and arduous ‘road to freedom’. From Eritea to Sudan, one day; from Sudan to Libya, nine days; seven days in Libya; and, from Libya to their rescue at sea, 5 days.

They had spent ten days at the reception centre in Lampedusa by the time we spoke to them. Despite been over capacity, the image portrayed of life at the Centre was one of relief and relative comfort. As they stood up in preparation to embark the ferry the swagger in their step from the promise of new life opportunities in Europe was obvious.

Europe should embrace the verve with which these young people arrive.

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