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Immigrants flood to Lampedusa in advance of papal visit

Catholic World News - July 04, 2013

Hundreds of African migrants are heading for the Italian island of Lampedusa in advance of a visit there by Pope Francis.

The Vatican announced on July 1 that the Pope will travel to Lampedusa on July 8. The papal visit is designed to highlight the needs of refugees and migrants. Lampedusa, located in the Mediterranean northeast of Tunisia, is a frequent goal for migrants leaving northern Africa. Pope Francis made the decision to visit the island after 7 migrants drowned in the waters nearby.

As the date of the papal visit approaches, authorities in Lampedusa have reported that dozens of craft have come to the island, bringing refugees from northern Africa, Iraq, Pakistan, and elsewhere. Immigration officials are struggling to keep pace with the arrivals.

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