Migrants, Cri: “In 3 months over 49 thousand in the Lampedusa hotspot, this is how we humanized the center”

Ignazio Schintu talks about the daily commitment of over 130 operators. In the structure the transfers follow one another. The deputy secretary of the Red Cross: “They are human beings, not numbers”

“Tonight we could be around a thousand guests and tomorrow at least 800 should leave. I hope the most critical phase has passed”. Ignatius SchintuDeputy Secretary General of the Italian Red Cross, in the hotspot square, assists the operations. The migrants get on the coaches that will take them to the port to be embarked on the ships that will take them to the mainland. “At the moment 1,200 have been embarked on the San Giorgio ship and on the Galaxy, others will leave tonight by ferry and a plane flight”, he said in an interview with Adnkronos. The great emergency of recent days, when with the flurry of arrivals – thanks to the flat sea – the center of the Imbriacola district has come to host around 4,200 guests, is behind us. “Was a records in numbers, but already in July and June we had faced situations of this type. In three months (since the management of the structure was entrusted to the Cri, ed) the hotspot has over 49 thousand people“.

The balance sheet is positive? “I would say yes, of course we can always do better – says Schintu -, but today the structure is clean, whoever enters the hotspot receives a clothing and hygiene kit, can take a shower, eat and continue the journey. Our request the Government was to make these people stay here for as short a time as possible and this is what is happening. place them in reception facilities”. Food, clothes and more. Because migrants who land in Lampedusa today are insured also psychological and legal support. “All this has humanized the hotspotthat when we took him in human management he had nothing,” he points out.

The watchword is planning. Starting from the number of operators. “On average there are 130 but in critical conditions we even reach 160 – explains the deputy secretary general of the CRI -. We have about fifty emergency toilets, we have set up gazebos and pagodas and our kitchen is capable of preparing 400 kilos of meat at day, in addition of course to the rest. We try to provide the best assistance to everyone, paying attention to details. For example, people who get on buses to be transferred have everything they need to make the journey, which can sometimes last another 24 hours. The synergy that has been created with the organizations that operate here from Unhcr to Unicef ​​and Save the Children, as well as the police forces, allows for a solution to be found for every problem. It is clear that this must be maintained transfer trends because over 4,000 people cannot stay in the hotspot for more than 24-48 hours”.

In all those who arrive in the center of the Imbriacola district, the common denominator is hope. “You can read it in their eyes, on their faces when they cross the gate. ‘We’re alive, we made it’ they say. Often we focus only on the sea voyage, the crossing from Tunisia or Libya to get to Italy, but these people have often tragic stories behind them. Many have been traveling for months, years, have lost friends, family members, sometimes have nothing left. Sometimes we forget that they are human beings: we treat the migratory phenomenon with the cold calculation of numbers, instead we must remember that they are lives, that we have an obligation to help. Who better than us Italians knows what hunger, wars, emigration mean. There is no respect for human life in many of the countries they come from”.

For Schintu the “great absentee” in this emergency it is theEurope. “We need to create the conditions in Italy and, especially in the EU, for them to be accepted and integrated. How scary 120,000 people can be?”. The solution then passes from “European rescue missions” because the goal must be “to save as many lives as possible”. “No government has taken the phenomenon seriously, everyone is responsible – says the deputy secretary general of the CRI -. The merit of this Executive on Lampedusa is to have listened to us, to allow rapid transfers and to have entrusted the center to a large organization. If someone told me to enlarge the hotspot I would say ‘no’ because this community is already proven. L’only solution is to put rescue ships and then redistribute migrants in various countriesbut I fear that this is only utopia”. (by Rossana Lo Castro)