November 21, 2013
More than half the survivors of the Lampedusa shipwreck have fled Italy for northern Europe- a day after being transferred to the mainland.
The 89 migrants, including one woman, all from Eritrea, had been provided with accommodation in Rome, where they could stay for six months after their horrific ordeal.
But just 24 hours after they arrived in the Italian capital, they all vanished without a trace, according to the city’s social services department.
Under EU rules migrants are not allowed to move away from the country of arrival.
But in practice many sneak across the border into Germany or France and onwards to the UK or Scandinavia where benefits are generous.
Some 20 per cent of those arriving by boat in Italy settle in Britain, investigators say.
More than 330 North Africans, including many women and children, perished after their boat caught fire half a mile off the coast of Lampedusa.
The island, closer to Tunisia than mainland Europe, is the first port of call for many would-be-migrants seeking a new home in Europe.
Tens of thousands have made the crossing since the beginning of the Arab Spring as swathes of North Africa descended into chaos.
After the tragic shipwreck the migrants were accommodated on the island or in Sicily.
But once they had recovered from their ordeal, the group of young Eritreans were offered a home at the Teresa Gerini Institute, a welcome centre in Rome, for those awaiting confirmation of their refugee status.
After arriving last Tuesday, on a special flight, they were greeted personally by the Mayor of Rome Ignazio Marino, and received a welcome phone call from Pope Francis.
The Official Theme Song of the Third World Invasion: