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Migrant centre in Italy bursting at seams

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - 01:01

A former U.S. barracks in rural Sicily is one of Europe's largest migrant centres, and it often hosts double the guests it can cater for. Italy's legal process for migrants is one of the slowest in Europe, and it can leave people in limbo for years. Lucy Fielder reports.

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This former U.S. barracks in Sicily should host no more than 2,000 migrants. But it's often double that - and almost as large as the nearby village of Mineo. Italy's asylum process is one of Europe's slowest, so arrivals who are told their stay will be six months can be there several years. The country has vowed to streamline the process, but it hasn't happened yet. (SOUNDBITE) (Tigrinya) ERITREAN MIGRANT, SELAM AYALEW, HOLDING AMANUEL, SAYING: "I have been waiting for months here. Only God knows how long I'll be here, so I'll just keep waiting." Crimes such as rape have been reported within these fences. Still, most residents say they feel better off in the camp than at home and lucky to have survived the perilous journey by sea. The International Organisation for Migration said this week that about 220 migrants are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean already this year, twice as many as the same period a year ago.

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Migrant centre in Italy bursting at seams

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - 01:01