Mediterranean migration tip of the iceberg: Alfano

(161210) -- ROME, Dec. 10, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Angelino Alfano, leader of Italy's New Center Right (NCD) party, speaks after his consultations with Italian President Sergio Mattarella (not seen in the picture) at the Quirinale Palace in Rome, capital of Italy, on Dec. 10, 2016. Italian President Sergio Mattarella has met with major party leaders in bid to choose a new prime minister for setting up a transition government after the resignation of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Jin Yu)

Rome,   The influx of migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe is just “the tip of iceberg” of a wider global phenomenon of historic proportions, Italy’s Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said on Wednesday.

“The Mediterranean is only the tip of the iceberg of an exodus that threatens to reach biblical proportions,” Alfano said.

He was speaking during the presentation of a report on migration, conflict and food security at the UN World Food Programme’s headquarters in Rome.

There are 244 million migrants worldwide while the number of people forced to migrate has hit 65.3 million, Alfano pointed out.

“And this report confirms that food insecurity is the decisive factor making individuals leave their homes and loved ones,” he stated.

Migrants want to remain “as close as possible” to their homelands, Alfano said, noting that the report calls on the international community to do more to tackle the root causes of migration.

“The report stresses how the links between migration, food security and peace underpin humanitarian aid and development policies,” he said.

Alfano urged the “solidarity and responsibility” shown towards migrants by Italy, where over half a million people have arrived by boat in the past three years from North Africa.

“We have shown that rigour and humanity, solidarity, security and respect for human rights are compatible,” he said.