Economic fallout from coronavirus leads to surge in Tunisians leaving for Europe
During the first eight months of this year, nearly 8,000 Tunisians crossed the Mediterranean to Italy, six times as many as last year, according to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, and Tunisians are now by far the largest nationality arriving in Italy. An average of two migrant boats left the coastal town of Zarzis every evening during the summer bound for the Italian island of Lampedusa, local fishermen said.
A 23-year-old house painter from Zarzis said he set out last month with eight other men and five boys, including his younger brother, on a 25-hour voyage across an “agitated” sea. When they arrived in Lampedusa, the “joy was indescribable,” he said in an interview conducted via Facebook.
The young man, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid attracting more attention from Italian authorities, spent a month in offshore detention before being released. Many of his fellow migrants, however, will likely be deported. Regular deportation flights from Italy to Tunisia resumed last month.
Overall, sea arrivals in Italy …continued .
[Source: Washington Post]