Samstag, 29. August 2015

Holocaust at Sea, Messina welcomes 683 refugees and 2 dead bodies. Many among them are minors

From - The disembarcation from this morning is not like the previous ones; here the vessel Diciotti from the Coast Guard, arriving at around 8 o’ clock, has disembarked 683 women and men, rescued in the Channel of Sicily two days ago, in the days when two boats drowned, causing more than 100 casualties. During the operations, which the public is now watching through the lifeless eyes of the dead bodies of those stranded children, immortalised by the photos gaining coverage all over the world. The young people, who have been helped and assisted in the disembarkation this morning, are particularly tired and frightenened. They are alone. Among them some women, and as many as 100 children. And a very young child, essentially alone. It looks like that there are no family units involved.

It is the Madonnina (the statue of the Madonna) from the Harbour which watches them from above in one of the hottest mornings in August, caressing their hair and their shoulders, bent over by the load of the hell they have just been through, while police forces, volunteers and the personnel from Asp and the Red Cross gather around them.
For the first time a member of the city council has been seen at the docks, Nina Santisti, the newly appointed councillor for social services, who is accompanied by some social workers of the city hall. There was great concern ahead of the arrival yesterday, because of the reception of the youngest among the refugees.
Only few days before the prefect Stefano Trotta had pointed out the problem of the reception of underaged refugees in Messina, where the procedures to adequately accomodate them are lagging behind: a register of the foster families has never been created, nor the projects that should have been carried out in an autonomous centre. The operations seem to proceed rather swiftly today: around thirty minors have found a place at the welcome centre Amhed, which is nevertheless constantly coping with overcrowding, while the other have been placed in the centres around the county.
In the late morning the bodies of two dead persons have also disembarked the vessel Diciotti: the coroner has carried out the autopsy on board of the Coast guard vessel, after that the coffins have been sealed and laid down on the dock. The investigation aiming at finding out through depositions who the smugglers and their accomplices are, is under way. At least five men have been brought to the central police station and await to have their situation evaluated.

Translated by Marco Baldan