A bus carrying migrants who had landed on the small Italian island of Lampedusa, located in the far south of the country, collided with a truck on a highway on the outskirts of Rome on Friday, killing two drivers, authorities said Italian. The bus was carrying around fifty migrants from Sicily, in the south of the country, to Piedmont, in northern Italy, when the accident occurred.
Several migrants were injured and taken to hospital for treatment. The accident comes as Italy tries to cope with a sharp increase in the number of migrant boats from North Africa, most of which disembark on the small island of Lampedusa, the first port of call for those are trying to reach the European Union by sea.
The Lampedusa reception center had nearly 7,000 migrants at the start of the week, far more than the official reception capacity of around 400 people. Since then, the number of migrants has fallen to 3,800, the Italian Red Cross, which runs the center, said on Friday.
After tensions and scuffles inside the center, images from Thursday evening, published on social networks and in the Italian press, showed migrants mingling with residents and tourists and dancing to the sound of music in the main street of Lampedusa. Once picked up in Lampedusa, migrants are sent to the larger island of Sicily and then distributed to reception centers across the Italian peninsula. Many of them then try to go to Northern Europe, but are pushed back at the borders.
These arrivals constitute a headache for the government of Giorgia Meloni, which was committed to controlling immigration. Nearly 126,000 arrivals have been recorded since the start of the year, almost double the figure recorded at this stage for 2022. Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, leader of the League party, criticized the European Union to "not worry" about Italy's problem and said the government would use "any means necessary" to stop the boats.