What’s happened to the funds for the North African emergency?
In Vittoria (Ragusa) the Dike structure, which has been housing unaccompanied minors since July 2011, is in the middle of the same dramatic situation as other centres which have been providing accommodation for refugees who arrived during the North African emergency. The necessary costs for each guest should be covered by the Local Council in Vittoria, who in turn receive Civil Protection funds from the government.
In the structure, there is a group of young asylum seekers, who arrived in Lampedusa by boat a year ago and were placed in temporary accommodation in Piana degli Albanesi for six months whilst waiting to be transferred to a centre for minors.
Their stay in the temporary accommodation, which should have been limited to a brief period, was extended for months. During this period no procedures were activated for them and some of them in the meantime turned eighteen. Therefore, for months the State financed provisional accommodation in an emergency situation, and paradoxically, in the moment in which the youths were transferred to an “appropriate” centre where they can undertake the relevant pathways provided for by the law, the funds are no longer there. About two months ago, the centre’s manager, exasperated by the missing payments which dated back almost a year, addressed a letter to the Ministery for the Interior and the Vittoria Local Council. Within the letter, he requested the transfer of the group to another centre, describing the enormous economic difficulties which the cooperative face when they transfer the money. Yet nonetheless, more than once, the manager underlined the centre’s desire to keep the service up and running, if the sums owed were effectively paid. No reply was received. Given that the problem potentially regards all such structures which house migrants under the North African Emergency throughout Italy, there is the concrete risk that thousands of people will find themselves on the streets, including vulnerable subjects, such as unaccompanied minors. In this situation, the SPRAR system has, as always, very few available places, and is not able to take on the people who risk remaining outside the various reception centres. For these reasons, the mayor of Riace, Domenico Lucano and Giovanni Maiolo member of RECOSOL (Rete comuni solidali) have begun a hunger strike. It is necessary to ask how is it possible that such a huge allocation of funds, as is the case for the North African Emergency, can correspond to the situation in which we find ourselves, which has absolutely no justification and which needs to be clarified as soon as possible.
P.O. Ass. Borderline Sicilia