MSF pulls out of Sicilian refugee center, citing inadequacies

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 30, 2015 12:42 PM

ROME (Reuters) - The international relief organization Medecins Sans Frontieres is to halt its services helping migrants in parts of Sicily, saying on Wednesday Italian officials had failed to provide adequate working conditions.

MSF said in a statement it would end its medical activities at a first reception center in Pozzallo and its psychological support projects in secondary reception centers in the area.

It said conditions no longer existed "for an effective collaboration with authorities" and called for a long-term response to the medical and humanitarian needs of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the center.

"Local or national authorities have so far shown no concrete sign of improvement or a political willingness to improve, raising concerns that a structurally inadequate model of reception may well become the norm in Italy," MSF said.

The Interior Ministry said it had no comment on the withdrawal.

About 15,000 of the 150,000 migrants who arrived in Italy in 2015 came through the port of Pozzallo.

MSF said it would continue helping migrants in centers elsewhere in Sicily and on mainland Italy.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Janet Lawrence)