The Italian interior ministry reports that some 5,247 migrants have arrived on the country’s coasts thus far in 2018, a 61 percent drop on the same period last year.
A sharp drop has been seen in migrant landings in Italy in the first two months of the year. Between January and February 2018, some 5,247 migrants arrived in the country compared with 13,439 in the same period of 2017, a 61 percent drop, reported the Italian interior ministry.
The ministry stressed that the drop was especially sharp in February: 1,065 arrivals compared with 8,971 in February 2017, an 88 percent decrease.
Over 3,700 migrants left from Libya
Of the 5,347 who landed this year, 3,730 left from the Libyan coast, 71 percent fewer than in the first two months of 2017, when some 12,842 people had.
Eritreans are the most numerous among the arrivals (1,312), followed by Tunisians (1,060), Nigerians (326), Pakistanis (286) and Libyans (234). There were 747 unaccompanied minors, while the number of asylum seekers who have been transferred to other European countries through a relocation system has risen to 11,980.
A total of 143,493 migrants are currently hosted in the national reception system, with the largest number in the Lombardy region (14 percent with 24,047), followed by Campania (14,272).
‘Result of policies’, says PM Italian prime minister
Paolo Gentiloni said that the drop in landings was the result of Italian migration policies and a bilateral accord with Libya. ”One year ago, Italy signed a bilateral agreement with Libyan authorities around which we have built a policy, and that policy has begun to bear fruit.
“Traffickers have been hit so badly that the flow has been reduced by 70 percent. To those who talk a lot about migration only to sow hatred and fears we are responding with numbers,” Gentiloni said.
”We put the spotlight on the issue of human rights in Libya. If anyone can see these problems, if some journalists were able to see them, this is because of what Italy has done,” he added.