In Lebanon with Sant'Egidio among refugees. The story of Hassan and his arrival in Italy via the Humanitarian Corridors

More than a month since the Cutro tragedy


To avoid the massacres in the Mediterranean and also the long and perilous ordeal of the Balkan route: the Humanitarian Corridors are so far the only alternative for those fleeing war, violence or famine to leave their country safely.

Maria Quinto, Sant'Egidio’s Humanitarian Corridors Coordinator for Lebanon, tells us about the difficult conditions in which millions of people live in refugee camps in the country,  devastated by years of economic and social crisis. For eleven years, in one of the camps on the southern outskirts of Beirut, Hassan and his family have been living in absolute poverty.

Several months ago, Hassan’s sister got in touch with the Community of Sant'Egidio to report the conditions of extreme economic and social deprivation in which her relatives were living in one of the camps in the Lebanese capital. After proper checks, her request to host her brother, wife and nephews close to where she lived in the province of Varese was finally approved.

They were supposed to be reunited in Italy in March, but she died in the recent earthquake in Turkey where she was visiting her daughter.

Hassan and his sister could not meet again, unfortunately, but he and his family are now safe in Italy, welcomed by his brother-in-law and two nephews. It is the legacy of a woman who wished to save her brother.

About 6100 people have arrived in Italy since 2016 via the Humanitarian Corridors, and others have arrived in France, Belgium, Andorra and San Marino. A model on which the European Union should focus: a route that allows people to travel safely and integrate in the destination countries. It is necessary to increase the numbers and favour a regular entry, also by promoting sponsorship, i.e. family members, associations or people of good will, can provide their sponsorship to allow asylum seekers or refugees to enter regularly. 

In Lebanon with Sant'Egidio among refugees. TV report by Stasera Italia (IT)

Migration more than a month since the Cutro tragedy: Maria Quinto’s interview on RaiRadio3 (IT)