650 migrants have been evacuated from Lampedusa amid 'crisis'

The Italian Government's Commissioner for migrant emergency has activated a plan for the extraordinary transfer of hundreds of people from Lampedusa after nearly 2,000 people arrived on the island in less than three days.

On Monday, 650 people left Lampedusa, thanks to the intervention of the Ministry of Defence, the Coast Guard and the Guardia di Finanza: 80 migrants were taken to Pozzallo by a Guardia di finanza ship, 300 by a regular ferry to Porto Empedocle, and 270 distributed in three groups of 90 by three military flights to Crotone, Pisa and Catania.

Lampedusa is always under pressure, amid the ongoing arrival of migrants and refugees by sea from North Africa. One thousand people still remain in the Contrada Imbriacola first reception centre, almost three times it's maximum capacity.

Good weather and improved sailing conditions have prompted more ships to set sail from North Africa, just two weeks after Lampedusa posted record arrivals of 3,000 people in 48 hours in mid-April.

These numbers prompted the Italian government, chaired by the far-right Giorgia Meloni, to decree a state of national immigration emergency for the next six months and which expedites the repatriation of migrants.

The Italian Interior Ministry says that in the first four months of 2023, more than four times as many people arrived in Italy compared to last year: 40,856 people compared to 10,188 in 2022.