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

Video British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Multimedia Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid