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New route to Europe from Egypt


05-15-2016 13:04 BJT

Italy’s Interior Ministry warns of a new refugee route to Europe from Egypt. Numbers crossing the Mediterranean have slowed in recent weeks.
4 weeks ago, Omar Ali left for Europe on a boat just like this one.  13 days at sea with 250 on-board, he tell us. Some didn’t make it.

Unlike so many before him, though, Omar didn’t travel from Libya. But from Egypt.

"When we arrived in Egypt, we were surrounded only by people traffickers who wanted to get our money from us. When we were ready to board the boat, they disappeared and we didn’t see anyone else. We just got on the boat, and no one stopped us," said Omar Ali, refugee.

Others are following him. Many of those rescued from the waters of the Mediterranean in recent days took the same route.

Most go straight to the mainland – where they are, now, compelled to register for asylum.  Leaving Lampedusa still littered with memories of last summer’s chaos, but unusually quiet.

The island’s reception centre sees a steady, but orderly, flow. In the harbour, high speed rescue boats remain on standby.

Captain Paolo Monaco says there’s spare capacity.

"In normal times, we have 2 boats moored and 2 at sea. If there is an emergency, we can go out with the full crew, using all 4 boats," he said.

But if a new route is opening – many fear the calm will not last.

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