Sunday, April 18

Migrants in the Alps: “a night in -20 degrees can be fatal”

Every night, whatever the weather, migrants try to cross the border between Italy and France through the Alps. Coming from Africa or the Middle East, they are ready to take all the risks to carry out their journey. project of a better life in Europe Faced with the harshness of winter but also the ever more frequent checks by the police.

Amir, 23, has fled Afghanistan for many months already. He goes through the countries he crossed in the hope of arriving in France: “Iran, Turkey, Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia and then Italy“.

The Italian Red Cross has been patrolling for several years near the border village of Claviere. The organization that helps migrants in distress notes a recent change in the profile of those attempting to cross.

“there are many families, often with children”

In recent months, the type of migrants who pass through this area has changed a bit, there are many families, often with children, who have taken the Balkan route, so the main nationalities are Afghan, Iranian and Iraqi. Accidents and avalanches often happen. Another great danger is the cold. If you are not well equipped, with gloves, warm clothes, spending a night in minus 15 or minus 20 degrees can be fatal.“, says Michele Belmondo, volunteer at the Italian Red Cross.

But the first fear of migrants remains that of being arrested by the French gendarmerie or the border police, whose numbers have been increased. In the event of interception, they will most often be sent back to Italy.

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