VICE News travels to Lampedusa a year after the boat capsizing disaster that killed 360 migrants and brought the refugee crisis to the forefront of the European immigration discussion.
In wake of the migrant disaster on October 3, 2013, when over 360 migrants drowned after their boat capsized, VICE News traveled to Lampedusa to find out about the refugee crisis that has been suddenly brought to the forefront of the European immigration question. Due to its geographical proximity to the north coast of the African continent, Lampedusa has become one of Europe’s gateways for migrants, who arrive by sea in droves each week. The majority are fleeing war in Syria or Eritrea’s repressive regime, in search of a better life, but due to unscrupulous traffickers and unsafe vessels, all too often don’t make it to the island alive. Under current EU immigration law, those who succeed in reaching Italian shores end up stuck in Italy under the Dublin Treaty.
In the first half of 2014 alone, 63,000 migrants arrived to Lampedusa—double the number during the whole of 2011, the year of the Arab Spring. Unfortunately, of those attempting to make the deadly journey, a reported 3,027 migrants have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea this way. Following the October 2013 tragedy, and amid pressure from the international community, Italy vowed to put some measures in place in order to help control the problem and save more lives.
VICE News returns to Lampedusa one year later, to find out how its new sea rescue mission Mare-Nostrum, and regulations such as the Dublin Treaty, are effecting the influx of migrants.