Aid group quits Lampedusa mission

Médecins Sans Frontières' says government's lack of action made situation impossible.

    Thousands of migrants land on the shores
    of Lampedusa every year [EPA]

    Health crisis

    More than 20,000 migrants a year land on the shores of Lampedusa but regional health authorities do not extend any medical care to them.

    Since 2002, MSF has provided free emergency medical screenings for migrants who arrive by boat on the island, which lies south of Sicily.

    About 4,550 migrants have been treated by MSF since 2005, with 1,420 attended to between January and October 2008.

    MSF medical staff say they have seen an increase over the years in medical conditions linked to the migrants' difficult travelling conditions, such as shock, hypothermia and burns.

    The proportion of women and children among the migrants is rising and more pregnant women are travelling in dangerous conditions to Lampedusa than ever before, MSF staff say.

    "We are now quite concerned at the fact that there is no health treatment at the dock. We have asked the Italian authorities to guarantee medical services," Virgilio said.
    "This year we have seen that lots of people coming to Lampedusa have travelled in really harsh conditions."

    About 30 per cent of the migrants arriving on Lampedusa arrive from war zones or countries affected by droughts, such as Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


     How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    Ninety-nine years since Balfour's "promise", Palestinians insist that their rights in Palestine cannot be dismissed.

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    In the rundown Pedion Areos Park, older men walk slowly by young asylum seekers before agreeing on a price for sex.

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    The story of a most-wanted fugitive and billionaire.