Continent dealing with worst migration crisis since the end of World War II
GENEVA — The UN refugee agency is heaping pressure on Europe to help Italy defuse the “unfolding tragedy” of tens of thousands migrants flooding its shores.
Italy needs more international support to cope with a growing number of migrants who have braved a perilous Mediterranean crossing to reach Europe this year, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said on Saturday.
“What is happening in front of our eyes in Italy is an unfolding tragedy,” Grandi said in a statement.
“In the course of last weekend, 12,600 migrants and refugees arrived on its shores, and an estimated 2,030 have lost their lives in the Mediterranean since the beginning of the year.”
Italy, he said, was “playing its part” in taking in those rescued and offering protection to those in need. “These efforts must be continued and strengthened. But this cannot be an Italian problem alone.”
Separately, a source in Paris said the interior ministers of France, Germany and Italy would meet in the French capital on Sunday to discuss a “coordinated approach” to help Rome.
Last week, Italy threatened to close its doors to people arriving on boats which were not flying Italian flags.
Europe has to get fully involved through an “urgent distribution system” of migrants and should widen legal channels so that migrants can be admitted, Grandi said.
He also called for greater international efforts to tackle the causes of migration to protect people and to fight trafficking.
Since the beginning of the