|Migrants sneaking under the flimsy detention centre perimeter in Lampedusa|
Julian Bray writes: What can be done about the rapidly deteriorating situation in North Africa? The media have cottoned onto the fact that over a million souls are camped all around the North African Mediterranean facing ports, but they overlook the fact that its only a staging post in a long, long line, there are as I write some 2 - 4million others slowly making their way to Libya, and they have already paid over a $1,000 dollars a head to the traffickers agents.
Simple maths suggests this is a major international criminal enterprise and with the latest arrests in Italy, the mafia or even worse Russian criminals would seem to be connected. But that is for someone else to tackle.
Turning back to the current situation, its clear UK politicians are treading water as the election looms and frankly nothing substantive will be done in the UK until after May 7th. (Sending one Royal Navy ship in is hardly substantive, we'd normally send in an aircraft carrier and support ships. Oh we don't have one! But the French do....) It needs a massive international humanitarian effort and clearly the Europeans won't be agreeing anything soon. If the migrants are denied boarding, they will still continue to arrive in lawless Libya. The tap in effect needs to be turned off. Turned off at source.
True we in the UK contributed to the current situation, but that is history. For what its worth here are my suggestions based on rescue operations I've been involved in, with organisations such as Europ Assistance and medevac rescue services.
1. Formally declare a major international emergency.
2. Reception Centres, no point in putting the centres onshore in Libya unless a UN or OAU controlled areas can be established, then quickly set up flat pack emergency centres with the express intention of returning the migrants to their point of origin but again into UN patrolled secure areas, fully supported by Europe and America. THIS IS THE START OF THE MIGRANT SEASON!
2. Set up feeding and medical centres. All countries have mothballed fleets, press them into service and clear out the Reserve warehouses. Where did all the kit from Afghanistan go? Not all of it has been sold off yet. See for yourself at www.mod-sales.com/auction/
3. Self help. Plots of land, seed, clean water and within a couple of years many migrants will stay put, but it will need continuing support. Establishing International communities all along the region should be the aim.
4. The UK international aid budget is a joke and has been so for decades, its costs the UK billions but only a fraction of the aid ever reaches those who need it. Its syphoned off by local politicians etc. India for example can send rockets to the moon but we still pour money into the sub-continent. Pull all this direct aid just offer support in terms of grants to UK companies operating in India. A good analogy is giving them a pre-loaded credit card, all transactions clearly transparent and no cash or negotiable bills involved. A presidential Mercedes, like the two in Uganda, would be quickly spotted.
5. Concentrate on areas of extreme urgent need. Sound harsh but many Indian enterprises own key chunks of former UK industries. Certainly a vacuum will be created but immediately filled by something else.
6. The Italian community in the UK is fully equipped to help their country, supported temporary repatriation of Italian nationals with specialist skills. IE If they sign up for a 3 year tour, their links, jobs etc will be financially supported in the UK. It is better to keep this continuing sea of migrants close to the departure point rather than see them mass at Calais. Simply the relentless chain of humanity making its way through Europe will arrive on our shores within12 months, and these battle hardened individuals won't be in the mood to be turned around.
7. Physically there are hundreds of thousands of half completed apartments in Spain. Whole towns and districts mothballed, again aid well placed will open up these districts and give the migrants a place to stay in safety.
8. If nothing is done? Expect the situation to rapidly deteriorate and expect bloated corpses to start washing up on elite Mediterranean sun kissed beaches. When the tourists desert the Med, you can then expect some immediate action.
9. And the dilapidated boats and ships? To be towed to a designated area and scuttled forming a new underwater reef. The ones that cannot be towed, sunk just outside international waters. creating a line of breakwaters.
10.Not ideal, but the conversation has to start somewhere and some of these ideas will works as I have seen them in action...
JULIAN BRAY ++44(0)1733 345581, Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Operations Expert, Travel / Cruise Industry, EQUITY, NUJ, Broadcast COOBE ISDN ++44 (0)1733 345020 (DUAL CODEC) SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Cell: 07944 217476 or iPhone 0743 530 3145 #VENDOR 10476453 http://feeds.feedburner.com/BraysDuckhouseBlog