As many as 800,000 refugees and migrants are waiting to cross from Libya to Europe, immigration minister Sylvi Listhaug says.
Listhaug, who visited Sicily in Italy this week to observe how the Italian island is handling the pressure, warns against a new refugee crisis in Europe.
– We see that the traffic here increases. It’s a huge challenge, for a large part of those who come are economic migrants, Listhaug says to the newspaper VG.
To NRK she says that this is a reminder that the immigrant crisis is not over and that we have to be wary of what might happen – and that if a large number of migrants come to Italy, it could mean that they will be moving northwards. 46,714 refugees and migrants have arrived in Italy during the first five months. 47,463 arrived in the same period last year.
On Monday, she visited the Norwegian ship Siem Pilot, which last year has saved 19,209 boat people in the Mediterranean. A few days ago the ship brought 1,017 migrants from West Africa twelve nautical mil from Libya to Italy.
The last week three boats have overturned – 13,000 people have been rescued from the sea. 700 are presumed dead.
– It is terrible to see. The worst thing is how cynical people smugglers are. This just shows how little value they place on a human life. The only thing on their minds is making money, Listhaug says to VG.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today