More than 180,000 illegal immigrants arrived in Italy in 2016 and Gambia is among the leading migrant producing countries in Africa, Italian Interior ministry has said.
Most of those arriving in Italy were from African countries including: Nigeria, Eritrea, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Sudan, Bangladesh and Somalia, the Italian Interior Ministry has said.
The number of illegal immigrants who arrived in Italy this year has increased by 18.21 per cent compared to last year to reach 180,392 people, the Interior Ministry said in a report yesterday.
This is the largest number of immigrants received by Italy.
According to the report, 7,018 people have arrived in Italy every month, compared with 3,219 people in the same period of 2015.
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The numbers include 24,929 unaccompanied minors arrived in the country since the start of 2016.
The report said a majority of the immigrants arrived through the ports of Augusta, Pozzallo, Catania, Messina, Reggio Calabria, Palermo, Trapani, all in the south of the country.
The report pointed out that 2,600 Italian municipalities of the country’s 8,000 host approximately 200,000 illegal immigrants, while the ministry aims to increase the number of reception centres and increase the number of municipalities which host the migrants.
The Ministry of Interior said that Italy has become the first destination for migration routes.
According to the Italian Coast Guard data, 3,800 people have died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea since the beginning of 2016.
Despite having a population of less than 2 million and being the smallest country by area in mainland Africa, Gambians were the fifth-highest arrivals in Italy by sea between January and October, according to International Organization for Migration.
Of the 282,000 migrants recorded by the IOM passing through Séguedine—one of the last stops in Niger for migrants before reaching the Libyan border—15 percent were Gambians, the third-highest behind Nigerians and Nigeriens.
“The numbers are huge; I understand there are villages [in Gambia] with no young males left,” Richard Danziger, IOM’s regional director for West & Central Africa, told Newsweek.
An estimated 5, 000 refugees died in the Mediterranean this year— UN agencies said on Friday.
A part of the story was sourced from Middle East Monitor news website