Some searching for work or protection while others want to join family members in Europe
Nearly 200 Tunisian migrants have arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa in the past three days as weather conditions improved, IOM has said.
Two boats carrying about 130 irregular migrants arrived on Monday morning. One boat with about 40 migrants had left from the Tunisian island of Djerba while another one carrying approximately 90 migrants had departed from Zarzis.
On 20th February, some 53 irregular migrants arrived on two boats which were intercepted by Italian authorities.
The first boat, which arrived on Sunday morning carrying 13 migrants, had left from Djerba while the second with about 40 migrants departing from Sfax, arrived on Sunday evening.
Rough seas and storms had prevented boats from leaving Tunisia last Friday but improved weather conditions and a calmer sea saw the first arrival of the weekend when a boat carrying 13 Tunisians arrived on the morning of 19th February. The migrants told IOM staff on Lampedusa they had left from Djerba.
The migrants, all young male adults said they left Tunisia for Europe for differing reasons.
Although some left in the search for work or protection, others say they wanted to join family already in Europe, including one man who showed IOM staff a picture of his young daughter with whom he wants to be reunited.
On the island are also people looking for family members arriving from Tunisia, including one man who had come from France desperately looking for his brother.
His sibling is believed to have left Tunisia on 11th February when some of the migrants died in a shipwreck off the Tunisian coast. The man was asking IOM if any bodies had been found. He had already been to Tunisia to search for him but had found no trace of his brother.
Meanwhile, IOM staff also assisted an Egyptian minor who jumped ship off the coast of Lampedusa. The boy, working on an Egyptian fishing boat was found by IOM on the Lampedusa coastline, half-naked and soaked through, searching for something to cover himself with.
The 17-year-old boy was taken to the reception centre for migrants on the island from where he will be taken to a special centre for unaccompanied minors on Sicily.
Although Italian authorities had transferred several hundred migrants from Lampedusa to centres elsewhere in Italy in the past few days, there are now about 1,360 migrants still on the island.
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