Half as many migrants land in Italy this year

aid workers from the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms help refugees and migrants to disembark from the rescue vessel, at the port of Pozzallo, in Sicily, Italy. (AP)

Half as many migrants landed on Italian shores in 2019 compared with the year before, the latest interior ministry figures show.

Italy has struggled to cope with a flood of immigrants in recent years and has called on other European Union members to shoulder a bigger share of the load.

So far this year however, 11,439 migrants have been recorded by Italian authorities, which is 50.72 percent fewer than the 2018 figure of 23,210 migrants, according to data that was released Wednesday.

The difference with 2017 is even more striking, as 118,914 migrants were registered as arriving that year in Italy, one of the closest EU countries to Africa.

In 2019, the largest number of official migrants came from Tunisia, with 2,654, followed by Pakistan and Ivory Coast with more than 1,100 each.

Unaccompanied minors accounted for 1,618 of all those registered this year.

Between June 2018 and August 2019, Italy was governed by a coalition comprised of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the far-right League, whose leader Matteo Salvini was interior minister.

He enacted measures to curb migration and levied fines on rescue boats run by charities that plucked migrants from the Mediterranean Sea.

In September, the current Italian coalition made up of the Five Star Movement and center-left parties signed an agreement with EU partners, including France and Germany, to automatically share the number of migrants who landed in Italy or Malta.

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Last Update: 19:13 KSA 22:13 - GMT 19:13
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