Migrants and refugees arriving by sea from Libya is at a record pace this year. A G7 summit which might have drawn attention to the issue failed to do so.

The Aquarius rescue Ship run by NGO SOS Mediterranee and Medecins Sans Frontieres arrive in the port of Salerno on May 26, 2017.
The Aquarius rescue Ship run by NGO SOS Mediterranee and Medecins Sans Frontieres arrive in the port of Salerno on May 26, 2017.

Italy is expected to take in as many as 200,000 asylum seekers this year. Many others are expected to die while trying to cross to Europe from North Africa.

Over the past two weeks, almost 10,000 migrants and refugees have been rescued off the coast of Libya, where smugglers cram them onto unsafe boats. Dozens died, including many children.

In the latest rescues, over 1,000 people were picked up at sea on Sunday and brought to Sicily. The bodies of seven people who drowned were recovered.

Departures from Libya are picking up as the weather improves going into summer. And with more departures comes more danger.

TRT World's Francis Collings has this exclusive report from the Italian port of Palermo.

Italy still isolated in shouldering migration crisis after G7

Italy chose to host a Group of Seven summit of wealthy nations on a hilltop overlooking the Mediterranean, looking to draw attention to the migrant and refugee crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of people set sail from Africa in search of a better life in Europe.

But world leaders on Saturday said little that will help Italy manage the steady flow of migrants to its shores or enable it to cope with the growing number of new arrivals.

"Even though this summit took place in Sicily, a stone's throw from where so many migrants have died, it produced no concrete steps to protect vulnerable migrants or to address the root causes of displacement and migration," said Roberto Barbieri, the local director of humanitarian group Oxfam.

Rome had hoped to persuade other major industrialised nations to open more legal channels for migration and to focus attention on food security – policies which were meant to lower the number of people who set off for Europe.

But the plan was scrapped before the two-day summit even started, with the United States, Britain and Japan unwilling to commit to major new immigration initiatives.

The final communique outlined medium-term commitments to bolster African economies and promote sustainable agriculture, but it focused more on the need for each country to guarantee national security than on how to limit migration.

Both the United States and Britain opposed the Italian pre-summit initiative to draft a stand-alone G7 statement entitled "G7 Vision on Human Mobility", an Italian official said.

That document included language on the need for open, safe and legal paths for migrants and refugees.

Italy has been put under increasing pressure as EU partners have refused to relocate large numbers of asylum seekers, and some have closed their southern borders to keep migrants out of their own countries, effectively sealing them in Italy.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies