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UNHCR Italy Factsheet, November 2019

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■ In November, 1,233 refugees and migrants arrived in Italy by sea, compared to 980 in November last year. Monthly sea arrivals most commonly departed from Libya (79%), followed by Tunisia (11%) and Turkey (10%). Persons departing from Libya in November mainly originate from Bangladesh, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Sudan, as well as sub-Saharan, northern, and western African countries. Persons departing from Tunisia mainly originate from Tunisia. Cumulatively, between 1 January and 30 November 10,882 persons arrived in Italy by sea, a 53 per cent decrease compared to same period last year (23,011). Most refugees and migrants arriving by sea since the beginning of 2019 originated from Tunisia (24%), Pakistan (11%), Côte d’Ivoire (10%), Algeria (9%), Iraq (8%), Bangladesh (5%), Iran (4%), Sudan (4%), Guinea (3%), and Morocco (2%). For further information on sea arrivals in Italy, please refer to the Italy Sea Arrivals Dashboard – November 2019.

■ Various NGO rescue vessels were operational in the Central Mediterranean throughout November, including the Ocean Viking, run by NGOs SOS Mediterranée and MSF, and the Open Arms, run by NGO Proactiva Open Arms, Alan Kurdi vessel, run by NGO Sea Eye and Aita Mari. During the month and on four occasions, Italy allocated a port of safety following commitment by other European states (France, Germany, Malta, Portugal, Spain and Italy) to relocate some new arrivals.

■ Incidents at sea Incidents at sea continued to occur in November, with reports of refugees and migrants dying or going missing while attempting to cross the Mediterranean and reach Italian shores. On 23 November a shipwreck occurred near Lampedusa. Survivors told UNHCR that at least 170 persons were on board a wooden boat that departed from Zuwarah on 22 November, around 4:30 am. During the sea-crossing, within international waters, they reported seeing a fishing vessel which gave them directions on how to reach Lampedusa. The people did not call the authorities to seek help and when they saw the Italian Coast Guard, the boat was reportedly stable, despite the bad weather conditions.
When the Coast Guard vessel drew closer to the boat, some of them jumped into the water and the boat capsized. All the persons on board fell into the water and 149 were rescued.
For further information on dead and missing persons, please refer to the Dead and Missing at Sea Dashboard – November 2019.

■ Similarly to what was registered in October, the vast majority of refugees and migrants who reached Italy by sea in November, i.e. over 430 individuals (35% of the total), disembarked in Lampedusa. As a result, the island’s hotspot whose official capacity is 96 persons was significantly overcrowded. Concerns thus arose in connection with the adequacy of reception and services provided, as for example the specialized assistance required by the shipwreck survivors. UNHCR reported the issue to the authorities and advocated for the FPA intervention for the survivors.

■ The Government is implementing provisions introduced by former Minister of Interior Salvini in the so-called Security Decrees. Border and accelerated procedures, based also on a safe country of origin list, are applied for the first time to a total number of 89 asylum seekers recently arrived via sea. First instance Interviews are scheduled from December 2 up to December 12.

■ According to the latest available data, 29,526 new asylum applications were lodged in Italy between 1 January and 30 October 2019, a 38% decrease compared to the number of applications submitted in the same period last year (47,475). In 2019, first-time claimants more commonly originating from Pakistan (20%), Nigeria (8%), Bangladesh (6%), El Salvador (5%), Peru (5%), Ukraine (4%), Morocco (4%), Senegal (4%), Albania (3%), India (3%) and Venezuela (3%).

■ As of 30 November 2019, 95,020 asylum-seekers and refugees were accommodated in reception facilities across Italy. Approximately 74% of them (69,971 persons) were accommodated in first-line reception facilities, predominantly located in Lombardy, EmiliaRomagna, and Piedmont. An additional 26% (24,568 persons) were accommodated in second-line facilities belonging to the SIPROIMI network, most of which are located in Sicily and Latium. As of 30 November 2019, 481 persons were accommodated in hotspots, mostly in Sicily.