Vancouver Sun

MORE THAN 1,400 MIGRANTS LAND ON ISLAND

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Fifteen boats packed with hundreds of migrants landed on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa on Sunday, and officials said they were expecting numbers to increase as the weather improved.

More than 1,400 people got off the vessels at the Mediterran­ean island, one of the main landing points for people trying to get into Europe, ANSA news agency said.

“Migrants arrivals are resuming alongside good weather,” Lampedusa's mayor Toto Martello told state broadcaste­r RAI. “We need to restart discussion­s about the immigratio­n issue.”

Around 11,000 disembarke­d on Italy's coasts from the start of 2021 to May 7, up from 4,105 in the same period last year, interior ministry data shows.

Overall numbers are still down from 2015, when hundreds of thousands made the perilous sea crossing to Europe, many of them fleeing poverty and conflict across Africa and the Middle East. But the issue still sharply divides European government­s and has fuelled anti-immigratio­n sentiment and parties across the continent.

Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy's far-right League party, called on Prime Minister Mario Draghi to tackle the issue.

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