News / Africa

Aid Agencies Finds Libyan Camp Conditions 'Horrific'

Lisa Schlein

An inter-agency assessment mission to the remote southeastern Libyan town of Al-Kufrah has found around 3,000 to 4,000 African migrants living under horrific conditions in a camp on the outskirts of the town. The U.N. and private aid agencies on the mission report the mainly Chadian and Sudanese migrants have no basic services, are subject to theft and physical assault and are desperate to leave.

Desperate need

The assessment team says the African migrants are in desperate need of help. It says they are living under basic shelter and without access to running water, sanitation, electricity or security.

Spokeswoman for the International Organization for Migration, Jemini Pandya, says the migrants are living under very flimsy, open structures. She says the rudimentary shelters are constructed from anything they can find-bits of plastic or clothing. And, these are tacked onto wooden branches, which are then covered with straw.

“Migrants expressed to IOM their concern, in particular about security issues in the camp and the lack of health care," said Pandya. "There is no surrounding fence or wall around the area to protect the migrants and they said that they suffered very much from theft, physical assault and sometimes murder as people enter the camp from the town at night and steal their belongings at gunpoint.”  

The camp is near the desert. Given the flimsy nature of the shelters, Pandya says the migrants are constantly being bitten by scorpions. She says migrants have to make a 20-kilometer round trip to get medical treatment. If they return home at night, she says they often are prey to bandits.

Al-Kufrah camp

The camp at Al-Kufrah was established many years ago. It housed the many African migrants who were en route to Benghazi or to Europe in search of work. Prior to the outbreak of the conflict in Libya, an estimated 15,000 migrants, mainly Chadians and Sudanese, lived there.

Pandya says the camp population fluctuates on a daily basis as migrants arrive or leave for Benghazi, which is some 600 kilometers away. She says the Africans currently residing in the camp are desperate to get away.  

“A representative for the Chadian migrants at the camp told IOM that about 1,000 of his compatriots want to return home but have no money to pay for transport with many Sudanese migrants also in a similar position," said Pandya. "Now, the assessment team…also found other migrants from various nationalities living elsewhere in al-Kufrah, working as casual laborers, working as farm workers or carrying out menial tasks.”

Healthcare

Al-Kufrah is in a remote area near the Sudanese border.The assessment team found the lack of healthcare to be a major concern. It says the city hospital is in terrible condition, lacks the most basic medicines and only has one or two surgeons.

It notes most of the doctors and nurses on staff had been Egyptian migrants who returned home at the start of the crisis. It says a few North Korean and Pakistani healthcare workers remain in the town.

You May Like

Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursionsi
X
Zlatica Hoke
August 28, 2014 4:07 AM
Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursions

Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid