360° Coverage : Pope to visit migrant landing point in Italy

Pope to visit migrant landing point in Italy

Vatican City, July 2 (IANS/AKI) Pope Francis will visit Italy's southernmost island of Lampedusa July 8 and celebrate mass there with migrants, who arrive there from North Africa after a perilous sea voyage.

Jul 1 2013, 9:17pm CDT | by

Pope to visit migrant landing point in Italy
Photo Credit: ALBERTO PIZZOLI, Getty Images

Vatican City, July 2 (IANS/AKI) Pope Francis will visit Italy's southernmost island of Lampedusa July 8 and celebrate mass there with migrants, who arrive there from North Africa after a perilous sea voyage.

"The Pope has been profoundly saddened by the recent news of of shipwreck of a migrant boat from Africa, the latest in a series of similar tragedies," the Vatican said in a statement.

"He intends to pray for those who have lost their lives at sea and meet survivors and other refugees on Lampedusa," the statement said.

The pontiff will also "encourage" islanders and urge them to help "these brothers and sisters who are in dire need", the Vatican added.

During the visit, Francis will cast a wreath into the sea in a sign of respect for the thousand of migrants who have perished trying to reach Italy's southern shores, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.

According Human Rights Watch, up to 13,500 migrants have died since 1998 while attempting to make the dangerous crossing to Europe, including at least 1,500 in 2011, the deadliest on record.

Lampedusa was inundated with around 30,000 people during the first three months of 2011 during the 'Arab Spring' revolts in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya that overthrew longtime leaders in those countries.

The severe overcrowding in Lampedusa's single detention centre, designed to hold 850 people, led to squalid migrant camps on the isand that drew international condemnation.

The warmer summer months see a surge in the number of boats attempting to reach southern Europe.

In June, at least 10 migrants drowned in the Strait of Sicily when their boat got into difficulty and a Tunisian fishing boat allegedly refused to rescue them.

--IANS/AKI

pm/

IANS

Source: IANS

 
 
 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/8" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Luigi is the founding Chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 15 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology magazine.
Luigi can be contacted directly at ml@i4u.com. Luigi posts regularly on LuigiMe.com about his experience running I4U.

 

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