Italian authorities fear that their worst nightmare is materializing before their eyes: as droves of immigrants arrive on Italy’s shores, they have no choice but to remain in Italy.

According to analysts, the worst is yet to come. Until a few days ago the Italian peninsula was a transit channel for tens of thousands of desperate migrants en route to the countries of Northern Europe, yet now these same migrants are finding themselves stranded in Italy because of closed borders to the north. Overnight, Italy has moved from being a passageway to a dead end.

Six countries— Germany, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Slovenia—have suspended the treaty for two years, and others appear ready to follow them. In many respects, Schengen no longer exists.

With the recent closure of the Austrian border, the border points have already begun to be besieged, and authorities are expecting a migrant tent city to form there. Moreover, when good weather returns, they warn, arrivals could increase tenfold.