Simone Scotta: “We are half-way through the project, but it feels like we are at the beginning”
Rome (NEV), 30 November 2016 – With the fifth arrival of Syrian citizens from Lebanon scheduled for 1st and 2nd of December 2016, the number of people arriving safely in Italy via the “humanitarian corridor” project will amount to 500. The project was created by the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI), the Waldensian Executive Board and the Community of Sant’Egidio. This result was reached in less than a year from the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the promoters and the Ministries of the Interior and Foreign Affairs. An agreement that over a period of two years will allow 1000 refugees from Lebanon, Morocco and Ethiopia to travel to Italy on “humanitarian visas” (refer to the detailed sheet for information on the project). The pilot project will reach the halfway point with the group of 100 people who will soon travel from Beirut to Fiumicino on a regular flight – 40 landing on Thursday, and another 60 on Friday – in accordance with the scheduled times. “If we look at the commitments assumed, we are half way,” says Simone Scotta, operator of the Mediterranean Hope-FCEI project in Lebanon, “but we still have the energy of the first day, because there is still so much work to do”.
Forty of the new arrivals will be inserted in the “widespread reception” system that the FCEI and Waldensian Diaconia (CSD) have prepared throughout the national territory: the “La Noce” Waldensian Diaconal Centre has been made available in Palermo, other facilities will be set up in Turin, Milan, Padova and Florence by the CSD. As previously occurred, the migrants are all Syrian, but from different religious backgrounds (5 Christians, 2 Shiites, 33 Sunnis), generations and geographic origins. Once again, the majority come from Homs, a city destroyed by civil war, but there are also people who have fled to Lebanon from Aleppo, Hama and Damascus.
On the morning of Friday, following the second arrival, the usual press conference will be held at the airport: government representatives will be joined by the moderator of the Waldensian Executive Board Eugenio Bernardini and the President of the Community of Sant’Egidio, Marco Impagliazzo.