October 17, 2017
Migrant Camp Settles Near George Clooney's Lake Como Home

While celebrities like George Clooney and Madonna enjoy luxurious homes at Lake Como in Italy, that luxurious paradise just got a little more cluttered.

Hundreds of migrants took a turn to Lake Como after their crossing from Milan into Switzerland was recently blocked, and they have now settled in a makeshift camp in the Italian resort.

Reportedly, the railway station has been set up as the makeshift camp for the migrants, where whole families are living, surrounded by their belongings, garbage, and even rats. Now, tensions are mounting as more and more people arrive and set up tents in the luxurious Italian resort.

It seems the migrants are all hoping to head to the U.K., including four Ethiopians who are sleeping rough in the migrant camp at the railway station.

One of the migrants, Samir, 16, told the Daily Mail, "We arrived in Como two days ago. We are here because we want to go to Switzerland and then on to England."

"But the border is closed to us by train so we must find another way."

According to Samir, he has been traveling with his friends Bela, 18, Mando, 15 and a woman named Aziz Abdullah for months in the hope of reaching the U.K.

Samir said, "We have been traveling for four months. We left Ethiopia and went to Sudan and then to Egypt where we got a boat to Italy."

"We were rescued and we landed in Catania, Sicily. After some time we traveled to Rome and Milan and now here. But we won't stop until we reach England."

Samir went on to say he doesn't have any family in England, but he does know people there who have told him England is the best place for refugees.

Another migrant, Alpha, 18, from Guinea in West Africa, said he was on his way to Germany.

Clearly exhausted, he told the Daily Mail, "I want to go to Germany to claim asylum. I want to go to Germany because that is the best country for refugees."

"I arrived in Como the day before yesterday. But the Swiss have closed the border. Life is very difficult for me."

Alpha explained he has been traveling for two years, and it has been a "long and difficult journey." The young man had to cross the Sahara to get to Libya, where he lived for six months, but he said the people were very bad.

He then traveled by rubber boat to Italy but said it was very small and there were around 100 people on board. He said he was frightened and that they were rescued and taken to Sicily.

Up until two weeks ago, Swiss officials were allowing around 100 migrants to pass through every two weeks, but now the border has been sealed. Some migrants have now decided to try and make a life in Italy after applications for asylum in other countries were refused.

Naturally, the lives of the migrant families living in the makeshift camp are in sharp contrast to those of the celebrities living in the luxury resort. George Clooney and Amal, Madonna, Donatella Versace and her brother Gianni, and Sir Richard Branson also owns a luxury villa on Lake Como.

Roberto Bernasconi, a member of a local Catholic charity, told the Italian language newspaper La Repubblica, "We are helping with food, clothing and are also putting in showers, but it's very difficult, we do not know how to welcome all these people."

"We already put up more than 2,000 migrants in accommodation in our diocese but there is no room.

"I do not know for how long we can bear the brunt of this mass of people who would like to cross the border and are not willing to leave Como."

Twitter users are airing their response to the refugee crisis in Lake Como, criticizing Clooney and other celebs.

Even Trump supporters have managed to get in 140 characters or so.

[Image via Flickr by Holly Hayes | Cropped and Resized | CC BY-NC 2.0]