There were 4,121 migrants and refugees in the Lampedusa hotspot mid-morning on Saturday. This follows the arrival on the island of a record 1,918 people in 65 landings on Friday.
Since Friday, a total of 2,788 migrants landed on the Italian island of Lampedusa. This was made up of 1,918 in 65 landings on Friday, and a further 870 people in 22 landings since midnight.
Authorities were working to transfer new arrivals off the island. A group of 740 people were due to leave by ferry for Porto Empedocle on mainland Sicily during the morning.
From there they will be sent to reception facilities in other parts of the country including Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Umbria and Calabria.
However, ferry transfers are unable to keep pace with the large number of people arriving. The facilities at Porto Empedocle are also struggling, including due to a lack of buses for onward journeys.
Consequently, the prefecture and police headquarters in Agrigento are reportedly mobilising to make military ships and aircraft available to Lampedusa to support the transfers.
Remembering Cutro disaster
It is six months since 94 people perished in a shipwreck off the Italian coast at Cutro.
On the initiative on local online newspaper CrotoneNews, residents gathered on the beach at 4:30 am. This is the hour at which a fishing boat, thought to be carrying 180 people, ran aground and broke up in stormy seas a short distance from the shore. It had been sailing for four days from Turkey.
A candle was lit for each of the victims and their names were read out.
Ramzi Labidi of the association Sabir read the opening surah of the Qur’an. Actor Francesco Pupa read a secular prayer.
“Six months after the tragedy, it was only right to commemorate those who lost their lives at sea,” said Vincenzo Montalcini, editor of CrotoneNews.
“We did so by lighting candles in a call to shed light on what happened,” he added.