Italy has become one of the top destinations for refugees, or asylum seekers, over the past few years. Many of its current refugees transport via boat, crossing the Mediterranean Sea on their way to find peace. Here are 10 facts about Italy refugees:
- In 2016, Italy broke its record of asylum seekers admitted from the Mediterranean, at close to 200,000 for the year.
- Eighty-five percent of these migrants were from African countries, including Nigeria, Eritrea, and Sudan.
- More than 176,000 refugees are in reception centers.
- October and November were record-breaking months for Italy, with more refugees making the sea voyage than in previous years. This was partially due to better sea conditions.
- Better sea conditions resulted in more people traveling on a single boat, which also resulted in more deaths. Almost 5,000 people died at sea in 2016, compared to fewer than 4,000 the previous year.
- The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that more than 85 percent of migrants arriving in Italy through the Mediterranean started their journey in Libya.
- In September 2016, European countries agreed to relocate 160,000 refugees from Italy and Greece, to help ease the heavy loads that these two countries carry — only 4,000 were displaced.
- Some Italy refugees perform volunteer community service — sweeping the streets, cleaning up parks and maintaining gardens.
- According to the U.N. refugee agency, 26,000 unaccompanied minors made the trek to Italy last year.
- The Italian government is constructing a plan to integrate asylum seekers into the workforce while they are waiting in the reception centers.
Attempts to get help from other European countries to lessen the load on Italy have fizzled out over the past few years. As a result, the Italian government strains to make providing aid to those who flee from turmoil possible. These 10 facts about Italy refugees illustrate the difficulties, and the opportunities, that this mass displacement presents for all countries.
– Dustin Jayroe