The tiny Italian hamlet of Vaccarozzi di Erbezzo, located in the mountains above Verona, has only seven residents, but that is set to change after a EU directive has ordered them to take 80 migrants.
Already 26 African asylum seekers have arrived as part of a European Union migrant resettlement program. There are plans to resettle at least 80 migrants in the tiny town, according to Mayor Lucio Campedelli who is worried the numbers are unrealistic and will have a negative impact on residents:
“Sending 80 refugees here would turn this place upside down. They told us just before summer that they would arrive, but we can’t do anything about it. I don’t want to add fuel to the fire, but I hope they stop with these first 26 arrivals.”
Voice of Europe reports: Locals already call the Northern Italian mountain town “refugee land”. In early November the first 26 migrants arrived after setting foot on Italy’s Southern shores. All of them are men, and all are still traumatized from their difficult journey in rickety barges across the Mediterranean.
Liana, a local resident, says:
“Sending 80 here is madness. It would completely change our land. Even sending two here would be too many if we didn’t ask for them.”
The town’s asylum seekers are living in a former NATO barracks, guarded by gates and turrets.
“For now it’s better that they readapt in our center, where we can take care of their primary needs, such as food,” says Andrea Montagnini, a member of Versoprobo. “Soon they will be able to leave under certain rules, and we’ll try to provide them with a shuttle to town. But at night they’ll have to return here.”
Versoprobo claims that locals should have nothing to fear from the resettlement program.
“We’ve tried to reassure the local community through several meetings that they won’t have to change their way of life just because these refugees have arrived here,” says Montagnelli.