Milan Appeals for Help Managing Migrants

June 11, 2015 Updated: June 11, 2015

MILAN—Milan city officials have appealed for help in managing the huge number of migrants arriving from southern Italy after rescue at sea, as rising numbers are unable to find beds and are sleeping in the train station.

According to the Progetto Arca charity, about 350 migrants have slept in and around the station the last two nights because of a lack of beds in city-organized centers.

The Red Cross dispatched a team on Thursday in response to reports of scabies among migrants, “given the very serious situation in Milan’s Central Station where hundreds of migrants are staying in the entrance hall.”

The city’s top welfare official, Pierfrancesco Majorino, appealed this week to station officials to provide space for new arrivals to receive assistance and rest away from the main arrivals hall. He also called for health officials to establish a permanent presence because of reports of scabies.

“Everyone would be better off, even travelers,” Majorino said in an appeal on Wednesday.

Milan is host to the Expo 2015 world’s fair, now in its second month and which is expected to attract over 20 million visitors during its six-month run. While the Expo site is a half an hour ride on the metropolitan from the main station, many tourists pass through the monumental station each day.

Milan city officials say more than 64,000 migrants have passed through the Central Station in the last 20 months, with 10,000 since Jan. 1. Most are Eritreans and Syrians fleeing conflict and oppression at home, and who avoid being officially recorded so they can reach relatives or friends in northern Europe and ask for international protection there.

Milan officials say the city finds places for some 800 people to sleep each night, including families with children, with a peak of 1,400 last August.