ROME – A group of 25 migrants arrived in Italy on Thursday from Ethiopia as part of a humanitarian corridor project organized by a Catholic association.
Thursday’s arrivals were part of the first group of migrants to arrive from the African nation, with the aim being to welcome 500 Ethiopians over a two-year period.
The new arrivals came from vulnerable families and one-third of those who arrived Thursday morning were minors, the president of the Community of Sant’Egidio, Marco Impagliazzo, said in a press conference.
The group arrived by plane to Rome’s Fiumicino airport, unlike the thousands of people who have tried to reach Europe from the north coast of Africa on perilous boat journeys across the Mediterranean Sea.
They are to live in parishes and religious institutions, private apartments or with host families and will have tutors to assist them with their social and work-life integration, language classes and health care.
Since the initiative was launched in February 2016, a total of 1,000 Syrians fleeing their war-torn country have been transferred to Italy.
The goal of the project is to assist people threatened by violence in leaving their home countries so as to prevent them from risking their lives at sea or falling prey to human traffickers.
The initiative applies to victims of persecution, torture, families with children, elderly citizens and people with disabilities living in conflict-ridden countries.
The Catholic association sends volunteers to countries to identify and compile a list of vulnerable people, information that is then passed on to the Italian government for consideration.
Once in Italy, the migrants are able to formally submit asylum requests.