Since 2014, Italy has been a main destination for refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. Via the “central route”, people depart from Tunisia and Libya to arrive mainly in Sicily and Calabria region.  Italy recorded around 181,000 sea arrivals in 2016, and 119,000 in 2017, before numbers dropped to 23,400 in 2018. ? Around 72% of arrivals are men.? Main countries of origin are Tunisia (24% of new arrivals), Eritrea (15%), and Iraq (8%). In January, seven people arrived daily in Italy on average, compared to 135 in January 2018. ?

Italy has tightened its migration policies, including a ‘security decree’ passed in November 2018 that removes humanitarian protection for people ineligible to claim refugee status, but who cannot be deported. Protection needs are increasing as work permits are needed to renew the legal status of refugees and asylum seekers who consequently become undocumented. ?

It is unclear how many refugees and asylum seekers currently remain in Italy. A minimum of 136,000 adult refugees and asylum seekers were living in reception facilities at end of 2018. An estimated 500,000 people live in Italy without documentation. Their protection needs are particularly high. Reception centres are often overcrowded and access to healthcare remains challenging. ?

INFORM ranks Italy’s risk of humanitarian crises and disasters at low (2.7/10). Hazard & Exposure ranks at 3.4/10 while vulnerability and a lack of coping capacity are at rates of 2.4/10 and 2.3/10. ?

Latest Developments

07/03: More than 1500 asylum seekers, refugees and migrants are in need of shelters as government authorities demolished the refugee camp in San Ferdinando, Calabria region, on 6 March. According to local media, people are trying to find shelter in abandoned houses in the countryside as relocation to reception centers is yet to take place. ?

Key figures

  • 136,000 Redugees and Asylum seekers in Italy  [?]
  • 426 Sea arrivals in 2019  [?]
  • 149 Dead and missing in 2019  [?]

Key priorities

Protection: As governments are closing reception centres, some asylum seekers, particularly youths, face homelessness and detention. Increased numbers of undocumented refugees and asylum seekers face greater challenges in accessing education and health services and nearly impossible to seek formal employment. Especially undocumented children and women are at high risk of trafficking and exploitation. ?

Health: Adequate and gender-sensitive healthcare is often not accessible for asylum seekers in reception centres. Gender-sensitive care and support for survivors of sexual violence and traumatic violence is especially lacking. ?

Information Gaps and needs

  • Information about the number of refugees and their severity of needs in Italy is unknown.
  • Gender-segregated information about the living conditions and access to public services for asylum seekers and refugees are lacking.