8 October 2013

Reception conditions in Trapani? From one gym to another.

They have been in Italy for over a month and all that they
have seen are the four walls of the gyms where they have been held. This is the
cruel fate of the 44 migrants who have been since 28 August moved from one gym
to another in the city of Trapani. Transferred each time for no clear reason
but to exasperate the migrants, adversely affecting their already weakened
physical and mental state.

A first transfer was needed to free-up the gym
“Buscaino” near the pier, but the migrants were then moved to another
gym (in the district of “Cappuccinelle”).

A second transfer was made by the prefecture with the aim of
placing all those migrants currently held in Trapani in as few centres/gyms as
possible, also because 143 migrants rescued at sea by a merchant ship 30
September were to be accommodated in the city as well. Of these, about 40
migrants were transferred to a centre in Castelvetrano, families were taken to
the Salinagrande CARA, and the other 51 were moved to another gym in via
Verdinois, Trapani.

Under the competences of the Social Services of the City,
the gym, by the waterfront of Dante Alighieri, currently holds 70 migrants: 19
of the group that arrived 28 August, and 51 of those who landed 30 September.
The supervision is assigned to personnel from the Police, the Carabinieri and
the Guardia di Finanza, as well as voluntary associations in Trapani. They
complain of the difficulties in being able to perform their “mission”
given the lack of blankets, shoes and above all, the psychological and medical
support needed, and as so it is the police and volunteers who buy medicines,
shoes and clothes for the migrants. The most serious deficiency is that of
health care since there is no appointed doctor on site. Last week the migrants
made a hungerstrike.

The situation is completely out of control and the fact that
the prefecture has not assigned to any organisation responsibility for the
management of this emergency has meant that “abandoned” volunteers (who
lament the absence of Caritas) will no longer be able to carry such a heavy
burden. As a consequence, the small contributions volunteers have made thus far
is going to be missed, unless the prefecture changes its strategy in the next
hours.

And meanwhile in Salinagrande there are nearly 400 migrants
present. There are mattresses everywhere, also in the gym of course!

Alberto Biondo

Borderline Sicily Onlus

Translation by Sally Jane Hole

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