More migrants land in Italy, adding to EU-wide crisis

MSF ship brings five bodies, 529 migrants to Palermo

(ANSA) - Palermo, August 3 - As more migrants arrived in Italy on Monday thanks to almost daily rescue operations, harrowing scenes of desperation at the British-French border caused the European Commission to call for "more solidarity".
    A Doctors Without Borders (MSF) ship arrived Monday in Palermo port carrying the bodies of four women and one man who died of dehydration and 529 asylum seekers that were rescued from unseaworthy vessels off the Libyan coast on Saturday. The dead left small children orphaned, MSF doctors said. The ship named Bourbon Argos carried out two rescue operations Saturday, saving the lives of 111 and 107 people respectively. The five bodies were among the latter group, on a rubber dinghy. Fellow passengers told rescuers the five were healthy when they left Libya but died during the 13 hours they were at sea. Survivors and MSF carried out a funeral ceremony aboard the Bourbon Argos for those who died during the crossing.
    Also on Monday, an Italian Navy ship brought 369 rescued asylum seekers to Reggio Calabria port.
    Of these, 263 were men, 88 were women - eight of them pregnant - and 45 were minors.
    Separately on Monday, the Ragusa flying squad arrested Tunisian national Mohamed Aenouri, 21, on suspicion of migrant trafficking. He allegedly skippered a vessel with 360 migrants on board that was rescued Saturday, charging $1,500 a head for a total of some $550,000, police said.
    Elsewhere in Europe, tensions mounted as scenes of desperation at the French port of Calais, here refugees and asylum seekers have tried to break in to the Eurotunnel in order to cross over to Great Britain, were coupled with the death of a 27-year-old Moroccan man who suffocated to death while trying to smuggle himself into Spain inside a suitcase his brother had placed in the boot of a car.
    On Sunday, four Sub-Saharan migrants drowned while trying to swim to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, bringing the total such fatalities to 15 since the start of the year, the Moroccan interior ministry said.
    In Paris, some 100 African asylum seekers occupied an abandoned school and many more were sleeping rough by the side of the Seine in full view of trendy nightclubs and tourist attractions.
    The European Commission said Monday EU member nations must "up the level of solidarity" in the face of the migrant emergency in tCalais.
    "What is happening in Calais confirms what the Commission has always said - that we need to up the level of solidarity and the taking on of responsibility among member States," an EC spokesperson said. Back in Italy, vocal opponents of immigration called for the country to espouse a hard line along the lines of British Prime Minister David Cameron, whose conservative government has outlined plans allowing illegal immigrants to be evicted without a court order and for landlords who fail to evict them to face a possible five years in prison. The governor of the wealthy, northern Lombardy region was among them.
    "London's hard line on illegal immigration - prison for those who host undocumented foreigners," tweeted Roberto Maroni from the anti-immigrant, anti-euro Northern League party. "That's how it's done, good for you David Cameron".
   

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