Ahmad is one among the 130000 immigrants who reached Europe this year after taking a 23 days long sea journey on a tiny boat filled with hundreds like him. The Italian port cities are experiencing an influx of immigrants risking their lives to migrate to Europe. Ahmad reached Sicily with his 8 years old boy who escaped Palestine, moved to Egypt, paid a good sum to hire a boat with others. Like Ahmad most of his companions had left Gaza due to the ongoing air strikes of Israel.
According to UNHCR the Italian port cities Navy officials are conducting rescue operations on daily basis and alone in September 16, 2014; 837, 507 and 169 immigrants reached Salerno, Vibo and Valentia respectively. The disembarking immigrants tell the stories of their horrified lives in Palestine, Eritrea and Syria. Ahmad says, “Both of my young boy and my wife were killed by Israeli bombardment”. For them Europe is safer and within their reach.
The Italian authorities say the growing numbers of illegal immigrants are increasing each year. UNHCR reports that nearly 90 percent of all illegal traffic pick Italy as their destination. A large number of them would be seeking political asylum and many will run away from the rescue shelters and will move towards Northern Europe.
All of them will have to face legal consequences but they are happy – they reached Europe. The ongoing fighting in the Middle East is causing humanitarian crisis on the Mediterranean because only half of the people can survive to reach the Italian coastline. UNHCR estimates nearly 2500 have died in last three months alone.