A surge in the number of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean is putting a severe strain on the holding centre on the southern Sicilian island of Lampedusa. Thousands of people fleeing turmoil in Africa have ended up in a small shelter meant for 250 people.

Italy's regional authorities are growing more frustrated as the ability to house new arrivals becomes increasingly difficult.

Rescue services are trying to spread the arrivals between different areas of southern Italy but there are growing concerns space to hold the migrants will soon run out.

Getty Images photographer Dan Kitwood travelled to Lampedusa to photograph and talk to some of the recent arrivals.

Mediterranean migrants
Eboy is 14 years old and from Gambia. After making the journey from his home country, Eboy spent four days on a boat from Libya before being picked up by the Italian coast guard and taken to LampedusaDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Mediterranean migrants
Cynthia, 17, from Nigeria, poses for a portrait after a swim in the sea in Lampedusa. Cynthia spent 24 hours at sea on a boat from LibyaDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Mediterranean migrants
Abel, 16 and from Eritrea, poses for a portrait after a swim in the sea in Lampedusa. After making seven-month journey from his home country, Abel spent 24 hours at sea on a boat from Libya before being picked up by the Italian coast guardDan Kitwood/Getty Images

Italy said that as many as 5,000 migrants a week could arrive from North African ports in the next five months, unless something is done. The figures published by the newspaper Il Messaggero stated that as many as 200,000 could arrive by the end of this year.

Arrivals of migrants usually spike in the spring and summer months when the weather is better. With so many migrants arriving at once, many of the latest arrivals are taken to other shelters on the Italian mainland, including in the north.

Migrants can spend months in holding centres such as the one at Lampedusa, waiting to see if their applications for asylum have been approved.

Mediterranean migrants
Migrant men wait to board a ship in Lampedusa, bound for SicilyDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Mediterranean migrants
A migrant woman and a young child board a ship bound for SicilyDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Mediterranean migrants
Eric Joseph, 27, a migrant from Nigeria stands in a 'boat graveyard' by the port in Lampedusa, Italy. Eric left Libya on a vessel and spent 21 hours at sea before being picked up by the coast guard and brought to Lampedusa where he has been waiting for transit to SicilyDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Mediterranean migrants
The wreckage of former migrant ships are lit by passing cars at twilight in LampedusaDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Mediterranean migrants
A migrant man walks past a woman sunbathing on a beach in LampedusaDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Mediterranean migrants
Migrant men from Nigeria walk down the main high street in Lampedusa at duskDan Kitwood/Getty Images

The rise in migrants in the Mediterranean this year is largely the result of political instability in Somalia and Eritrea and the recent breakdown of order in Libya, in addition to the civil war in Syria.

Libya's lawless state, following the toppling of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, has left criminal gangs of migrant smugglers free to send a stream of boats carrying desperate migrants from Africa and the Middle East.

Mediterranean migrants
Oumer, 14, poses for a portrait in Lampedusa. After making a lengthy over-land journey from Guinea, Oumer spent four days on a boat from Libya before being picked up by the Italian coast guardDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Mediterranean migrants
Nineteen-year-old Tasha from Nigeria poses for a portrait in Lampedusa. After making the journey from her home country, Tasha spent one day on a boat from Libya before being picked up by the Italian coast guardDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Mediterranean migrants
Abdou is 23 and from Gambia. After making the journey from his home country, Abdou spent a day on a boat from Libya before being picked up by the Italian coast guardDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Mediterranean migrants
Gift, 18 and from Nigeria poses for a portrait after a swim in the sea. After making the journey from her home country, Gift spent 24 hours at sea on a boat from Libya before being picked up by the coast guard and taken to LampedusaDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Mediterranean migrants
Musa, 23 and from Liberia, poses for a portrait in Lampedusa, Italy. After making the journey from his home country, Musa spent four days on a boat from Libya before being picked up by the Italian coast guardDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Mediterranean migrants
Selina, 14, from Nigeria poses for a portrait after a swim in the sea in Lampedusa. After making the journey from her home country, Selina spent 24 hours at sea on a boat from Libya before being picked up by the coast guardDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Mediterranean migrants
Peter, 24, poses for a portrait in Lampedusa. After making the journey Nigeria, Peter spent one day on a boat from Libya before being picked up by the Italian coast guardDan Kitwood/Getty Images

The European Union has doubled the emergency aid to frontline member states Italy, Greece and Malta which have to deal with the massive influx of migrants coming across the Mediterranean to €50m (£35.8m, $54m) a year.

The funds can be used for reception centres, medical aid or additional staff dealing with the influx. At a recent summit, leaders also agreed to triple funding for the EU's border operation patrolling the Mediterranean.