This summer my city Como, located few kilometres from the Swiss border, was faced with an unusual, dramatic and serious emergency: the arrival of hundreds of refugees and migrants who arrived in Italy from Middle East and Africa crossing the Mediterranean sea. Hoping to cross the Italian-Swiss border to reach the Northern Europe countries, they camped out in the park in front of the main railway station. In the first two photos you can see the park before the emergency, while in the third one you can see, in the background, groups of people walking on the grass: this picture was taken in early summer, and represents the arrival of first groups of migrants.
The police controls have made it virtually impossible to pass the border to those people without valid documents for travel abroad. In the meantime, the numbers of refugees has continued to increase, and some volunteer groups have been trying to make the lives of these people more comfortable -- thanks to the distribution of meals, mounting tents, and a medical center run by the Red Cross near the station. In the following photos you can see some scenes of daily life, such as laundry or the afternoon Muslim prayer.
In this serious emergency situation, there were many problems, including that of waste management, the search for clothing and blankets and the lack of a place where collect the goods donated by many volunteers.
The city authorities, together with the Italian Government, were preparing a refugee camp equipped with mobile homes. Surely a better place to stay. Despite this, there has been some resistance from some volunteer groups contrary to the closure of the borders, and promoting the free movement of the people. These groups feared that the displacement of migrants in the new camp take away visibility to this severe humanitarian emergency problem, arguing that migration is the result of wars and exploitation. The migrants wrote also a letter to the town asking for an humanitarian corridor to reach the North Europe.
Meantime, it was necessary to consider the risks of the winter season: in mid-September the first rains, rather intense, had started, reducing the park in a mud extension. A commendable job of the city authorities has therefore convinced the migrants to move to the new camp (represented in the last two photos of this article). In fact, before the autumn the new place was ready, and in a few days all the migrants were transferred in the mobile homes at their disposal.
All these photos were taken avoiding to show the portraits of these people, to respect their privacy and the tragedy they are experiencing.