Heart of Palermo
Eleven days after they were rescued off Lampedusa by British artist Banksy's humanitarian ship, the Louise Michel, 150 surviving migrants were transfered to the quaratine ship GNV Allegra in the waters off Palermo. The quarantine ship carries 350 people who must spend fifteen days aboard while it cruises along the Sicilian coasts. Among them are some one-hundred unaccompaned children. Today the ship sails off the coast of Augusta.
From reporter Lorenzo Tondo in Palermo for The Guardian:
So far in 2020, more than 500 refugees are known to have died in the Mediterranean, and the real number is estimated to be considerably higher.
A boat carrying dozens of refugees has burst into flames off the coast of southern Italy as its passengers were being transferred to Italian naval vessels to take them to port.
Five people are confirmed dead and two are missing at sea. Six people are in hospital with serious burns injuries, including two Italian officials who were taking the people off the boat.
The vessel was approached by an Italian naval ship that was in the process of taking migrants onboard and, according to preliminary reports, suddenly caught fire, most likely because of a fuel leakage, then exploded. The number of victims is still uncertain.....
I wandered the streets behind the cathedral of Palermo and came upon this gem.
From today's The Guardian:
He has lived alone on an Italian paradise island for over three decades and intimately knows its ecosystem. But as eviction looms, Mauro Morandi, 81, has plunged into despair.
Labelled "Italy's Robinson Crusoe", Morandi, originally from the Emilia-Romagna city of Modena, stumbled across Budelli, an island off Sardinia famous for its pink-sanded beach, in 1989 after his catamaran broke down on the way to the South Pacific. In a fortuitous twist of fate, he discovered that the island's caretaker was about to retire, and so he abandoned the sailing trip, sold his boat and took over the role.
"I shall tattoo Sicily on my chest," said this man who had passed out in a Covid coma in Lombardy and woken up in Palermo. Lombardia hospitals were full so Ettore Consonni was airlifted by military plane to Palermo. He kept his promise. He had the tattoo artist draw Sicily and its three-legged symbol, the Trinacria, on his chest, with the names of his children and grandchildren. " I did it to remind me of all the doctors and nurses who took care of me, loved me and saved my life," says Ettore, 61, a retired store owner. He was flown in a coma to the Civico Hospital in Palermo. "In the ICU I heard a Sicilian accent, and I thought it was some Sicilian doctor emigre," he said. "They told me I was in Palermo, but I thought they were joking," he told Giorgio Ruta, a reporter for La Repubblica. After 23 days in intensive care, on 6 April, he started to breathe again without the ventilator. And in that moment he swore to doctors and nurses: "As soon as this is all over I will get a tattoo of your beautiful island." Said and done." In Lombary he found Sicilyagain yesterday in the tattoo shop, where the artist gave him his tattoo for free, because his mother and grandparents are from Sicily.
My cousin, Joann Maggio West, put together this video.