Migrants from Tunisia swarm Italian island

Humanitarian agencies are working to provide assistance to over 2,000 Tunisian migrants who have arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa over the past few days.

Migrants arriving in Lampedusa

Migrants arriving in Lampedusa

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says more than 2,000 migrants are crammed on the islands reception centre designed to accommodate 800 people.

The migrants are reported to have started arriving on the Island last Wednesday.

IOM says the migrants have been paying huge sums to human traffickers to make the dangerous journey from Tunisia to Lampedusa.

Jemini Pandya from IOM says the migrants include women and children.

“Smuggling networks have seen an opportunity and are again taking advantage of the vulnerabilities of people and doing what they can to exploit them. We don’t know yet if there have been losses of lives or any significant loss of life along the journeies. They are paying a huge amount of money to make the journey. We are hearing reports of an average of about $1,800 for them to make the journey, a short journey actually from Tunisia to Lampedusa.”

IOM says most of those who had arrived on the island of Lampedusa were economic migrants hoping to secure employment in Europe.

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