FROM THE CORRESPONDENT FROM CATANIA. This morning, Alarm Phone, the “migrant switchboard” gave good news: the 108 migrants adrift in the Ionian sea off the coast of Calabria, for whom help had been asked for several days, are saved: “After many hours of uncertainty – tweeted the NGO this morning – we learned that they have arrived in Italy ». No other details but it is known that the group, once reached by the Italian patrol boats, was landed in Crotone where another group of 90 people arrived at dawn, intercepted in the night by the Finance Police off the coast of Calabria. Another 400 people arrived in the Calabrian port in the late morning, rescued hours earlier by a Russian merchant ship. They are migrants of the “Turkish route”. Among them many Afghans and Syrians, there are also many unaccompanied minors as well as children who arrived with their mothers and pregnant women. One was admitted to the Crotone hospital. There have been five, between yesterday and today, the landings of migrants in Crotone. On Christmas day, in fact, with three rescue operations of the Guardia di Finanza, 289 people were saved, including 90 unaccompanied minors; one is just the group of 108 people.
But these are the only good news of this Santo Stefano which, despite the rough sea, sees the central Mediterranean still crossed by desperate parties in recent days especially, but not only, from Libya. There is still no news of the 25 migrants who left Benghazi on a fiberglass boat for which the Alarm Phone urged Malta and Italy to intervene for days. They searched for them with the planes of the Coast Guard, on the border between the Mediterranean and the Ionian Sea, even in the night and today. Meanwhile, the same Alarm Phone this morning asked for help for another boat with 30 people on board, which left 5 days ago from Benghazi, eastern Libya, and is currently in the open sea between the African country and Malta: “They are taking on water and are in danger, they need immediate help, do not wait until it is too late again! », the message on social networks.
Too late, however, rescue arrived for 27 or 28 people, including two women and a child, whose bodies were recovered from the Libyan Red Crescent on two beaches in Al-Khoms, eastern Libya. Three other people managed to escape but searches for other migrants who were on the same boat, about sixty in all, are underway. This is not the same group of migrants as was found on Thursday: in that case the bodies found were 5 and they were on a beach in Zawyia, western Libya.
At sea there are still, waiting for them to be shown a “Pos”, a safe port, or in any case a port of disembarkation, the NGO Geo Barents ships of Doctors Without Borders, with 558 people, and Sea-Watch 3 with 350. The first is located off the coast of eastern Sicily, the other is still in the search and rescue area between Libya and Malta. In Lampedusa, where several autonomous arrivals had been registered until Christmas Eve, the order to transfer 363 migrants from the hotspot to the Azzurra quarantine ship arrived. 148 people remain in the Imbriacola district.