7,000 Migrants Arrive On Lampedusa Over Two Days

 - International - Sep 15 2023 SHARE ON:
7,000 Migrants Arrive On Lampedusa Over Two Days

The Italian island of Lampedusa is grappling with an overwhelming influx of migrant boats from North Africa, reaching a peak of 7,000 people, equivalent to its entire local population. 

The reception centre designed for less than 400 individuals is now overcrowded, forcing men, women, and children to sleep outside on makeshift cots. 

Tensions arose during food distribution, requiring police intervention. Some migrants left for Lampedusa’s town centre seeking sustenance. While some restaurants turned them away, others provided food for free or were covered by residents and tourists.

Located 90 miles off Tunisia’s coast, Lampedusa is a primary destination for migrants crossing the Mediterranean. Recent fine weather has led to a surge in arrivals, with over 5,000 people reaching Italy on a single day. Many are rescued at sea by the coastguard and brought to Lampedusa port. 

On Thursday, nearly 400 arrived in nine boats from Tunisia. Tragically, over 2,000 individuals have lost their lives this year attempting this perilous journey.

Lampedusa’s migrant “hotspot” has long struggled with inadequate resources. The Italian Red Cross, which took charge in June, is finding it challenging to manage the surge. They reported over 7,000 people at the hotspot, and around 5,000 were slated for transfer to Sicily, where larger processing facilities are available. 

Italy’s government allocated €45 million to Lampedusa to aid in managing the situation, but Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is calling for EU assistance. This year, nearly 124,000 migrants have arrived in Italy, up from 65,500 during the same period last year, though the numbers have not yet surpassed the 2016 peak.



Shaun Farrugia Teases Collaboration With The Script

 - Music - Sep 15 2023 SHARE ON:
Shaun Farrugia Teases Collaboration With The Script

It’s a scroll and you’ll miss it. Shaun Farrugia took to social media to upload a swipe post of his recent activities and, among them, is a short, soundless video of him in a recording studio with famous Irish rock band ‘The Script.’

‘From smiles to writing with insane talent to still going to the gym to kicking a football’, wrote the Maltese singer and songwriter. 


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A post shared by Shaun Farrugia (@shaunfarrrugia)

In the video in question, Shaun can be seen in the studio vibing with singer Danny O’Donoghue, whilst another band member works on the piano. 

Of course, Shaun didn’t reveal what they’re working on just yet, keeping us on our toes for what could be in store for his musical career. 

Shaun has been working with many international artists, kicking it all off with Martin Garrix before being signed on to a massive label which boasts some of the most famous names in the industry.



CPD & AFM Rescue Team Begin Work In Libya

 - International - Sep 15 2023 SHARE ON:
CPD & AFM Rescue Team Begin Work In Libya

Minister for Home Affairs, Security, Reforms and Equality Byron Camilleri took to social media to announce that the Civil Protection Department and Armed Forces of Malta officers have arrived in Derna, Libya to help in the rescue effort. 

The officials ‘immediately started with their rescue operation in cooperation with the local authorities and the other rescue teams from international forces’, explained Camilleri. 

It was announced earlier this week that 73 officers and officials would be sent to offer foreign aid after Storm Daniel devastated parts of Libya, leading to thousands losing their lives. 


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‘No Half-Baked Measures’: De-Commercialise Blue Lagoon Say NGOs

 - Local - Sep 15 2023 SHARE ON:
'No Half-Baked Measures': De-Commercialise Blue Lagoon Say NGOs

A broad coalition of NGOs and citizens are reiterating their demand to curb the excessive commercial activity at the Blue Lagoon in order to address the current unsustainable situation on Comino. 

“Intense commercial activity linked to mass tourism is leading to rapid environmental degradation of this Natura 2000 site and hindering the public’s enjoyment of this unique island reserve.

Among the demands put forward last summer during protests which garnered mass public support, the organisations called for the ban of large commercial sightseeing boats carrying tourists, which transform the Blue Lagoon into a congested, litter-infested, space in a matter of minutes.

Moreover, it is of great concern that Government has been steadfastly refusing to publish the results of the carrying capacity study for Comino and the Blue Lagoon, already commissioned by ERA.

Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo recently claimed that a carrying capacity study for the Blue Lagoon cannot be carried out before considering this summer’s changes to the management of the area, which indicates that Minister Bartolo does not understand what a carrying capacity study is. Since the island’s management plan was published, the daily number of visitors to the Blue Lagoon has increased, not decreased, from 5000 a day in 2016 to a staggering 8000 a day this summer. We demand that the results of the commissioned carrying capacity study are published so that the public may see what the authorities should actually be doing to properly manage tourism on Comino.

We can celebrate that the public pressure exerted last summer successfully abolished deckchairs from the jetty and beach, reduced the number of allowed deckchairs overall, and improved the waste collection. However, we stand by our claim that relocating a deckchair operator to an area not previously exploited for this purpose is unacceptable and cannot be in line with Comino’s management plan as a Natura 2000 site. ERA and Environment Minister Miriam Dalli have remained shamefully silent regarding such failures on their watch.

The organisations also remind Ministers Bartolo and Dalli that the number of deckchairs was not the only demand put forward last year. Indeed, the number of kiosks at the Blue Lagoon have also shot up, with as many as 11 different stalls running concurrently in the past years. The same can be said about the number of larger commercial vessels berthing at, and disembarking tourists on, the Blue Lagoon.”

The groups reiterate their demands to: 

  • Prohibit large boats carrying hundreds of tourists to Comino;
  • Drastically reduce the number and size of kiosks;
  • Abolish all music from kiosks and boats and loud generators;
  • Control all commercial activity around the Blue Lagoon to operate on the basis of permits, with strict rules regarding permitted activities and waste management.

The organisations behind the joint statement are Birdlife Malta, Din l-Art Helwa, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Għawdix, Moviment Graffitti, Nature Trust Malta – FEE and Ramblers Association Malta. 


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