Hundreds of boat refugees have landed on the Italian Mediterranean island of Sicily. According to a report by the Italian news agency Ansa, around 400 people arrived at Palma alone, the Montechiaro in the province of Agrigento in the south of the island. The agency reported, referring to the police, that the people had been brought to a beach and set down on a ship. Where the ship came from remained unclear. According to Ansa, it turned off after the refugees disembarked. The police have started a search operation with helicopters and ships of the coast guard.

The police and military tried to catch the arrivals on land. The refugees had tried to stop drivers and asked for water and a ride. In Italy, a two-week quarantine requirement applies to all travelers due to the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, 50 migrants were also picked up on the island of Linos, which lies between Africa and Sicily. The coast guard was supposed to take them to Lampedusa. Numerous refugees had already landed there on Saturday, it said.

For years, fewer refugees have arrived in Sicily at once. This year, around 4,500 people came to Italy by May 22, as Ansa quoted the Italian Ministry of the Interior. In the same period last year, there were significantly fewer arrivals with around 1,360, but significantly more in 2018 with around 10,000 people.