11 Jun 2015

Inside Milan station where migrants are sleeping rough

These are the astonishing pictures of Syrian and Eritrean migrants stranded inside Milan station in Italy – with nowhere to go.

Italy is struggling to handle the surge in migrants, with thousands rescued at sea each week and more than 50,000 so far this year. Almost 2,000 have drowned.

Huge numbers have been arriving in Milan after travelling by train from southern Italy. Many of them have been sleeping rough inside the station.

Some northern Italian regions have refused to take in more migrants sent from crowded official reception centers down south, and now another crisis is brewing as local authorities struggle to deal with thousands heading north under their own steam.

“People say Italy is not good for migrants, so we want to leave,” said Abdi Mohammed Adem, a 19-year-old Somali rescued 15 days ago by the Italian navy. His goal is to reach Germany or Britain, he said.

To send him to Europe, Adem’s family sold its home and paid people smugglers $7,000, he said. But now he does not have enough cash to buy a ticket to go north.

“My family doesn’t have any more money to give me,” he said.

The Red Cross on Thursday dispatched a team in response to reports of scabies “given the very serious situation … where hundreds of migrants are staying in the entrance hall.”

The Progetto Arca charity says about 350 migrants have slept in and around the station the last two nights because of a lack of beds in city-organized centres.

The European Union has tripled funding for rescue missions in the Mediterranean after a shipwreck killed some 800 migrants in April, but it is still trying to find a way to cope with those who arrive, and to relieve the burden on southern countries like Italy and Greece.