News / Europe

UN: 100,000 People Have Fled Libya into Neighboring States

In this photo released by Britain's Ministry of Defense, civilians disembark from one of two Royal Air Force C130 Hercules that evacuated more than 150 civilians from desert locations south of Benghazi, at Malta's international airport, February 27, 2011
In this photo released by Britain's Ministry of Defense, civilians disembark from one of two Royal Air Force C130 Hercules that evacuated more than 150 civilians from desert locations south of Benghazi, at Malta's international airport, February 27, 2011

The United Nations refugee agency says almost 100,000 people have fled Libya into neighboring Egypt and Tunisia in the past week, to escape a deadly anti-government uprising.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres asked the international community Sunday to provide quick and generous assistance to Egypt and Tunisia, so that they can cope with what he called a "humanitarian emergency."

The U.N. agency says Tunisia has reported the entry of 40,000 people from Libya since February 20, and Egypt has recorded 55,000 people crossing the Libyan border since February 19.

Most of those fleeing to the neighboring states are said to be Egyptians and Tunisians, while the remainder include other foreigners, mainly Asian migrant workers, and several thousand Libyans. It says U.N. emergency teams are working with Egyptian and Tunisian authorities to support the evacuees.

Britain continued its secret evacuations of foreign nationals who are stranded at remote camps in the Libyan desert. Defense Minister Liam Fox said three British military transport planes evacuated 150 oil workers and civilians from "multiple locations" in the Libyan desert Sunday.

Two Royal Air Forces planes later landed on the Mediterranean island nation of Malta and a third was due to arrive later.

In a similar covert operation Saturday, two British C-130 Hercules planes picked up another 150 civilians - including Britons and other foreigners - from desert sites and brought them to Malta. The British government has faced criticism at home for being too slow to help hundreds of British oil workers stuck in desert facilities with dwindling supplies of food and water.

Separately, Germany said its air force evacuated 132 people from the desert during a secret military mission on Saturday. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Sunday two German military planes flew the evacuees - Germans and other EU citizens - to Crete. About 100 Germans remain in Libya, half of them in the country's interior.

Mediterranean ports are overflowing with thousands of other foreigners escaping Libya's unrest. The French news agency said a ferry loaded with 1,800 Asian workers docked in Malta Sunday. Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said his island nation has received 8,000 people since the Libyan crisis began and he fears an even greater exodus to come.

Also Sunday, 4,600 people - mostly Chinese nationals - arrived in the Greek ports of Piraeus (Athens) and Heraklion (Crete). Another ferry with 2,000 more Chinese is expected to reach Crete late Monday. China also is chartering planes to fly Chinese citizens out of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and bring them home from other destinations in North Africa and Europe.

At least 20,000 Chinese, 15,000 Turks and 1,400 Italians have been evacuated from Libya in recent days. The North African nation had a huge multinational work force before the crisis began, including workers in the construction and oil industries, and domestic helpers from Bangladesh, China, Egypt and the Philippines.

But thousands of migrant workers from poorer countries in South Asia and West Africa have been stranded in Libya, many abandoned by their foreign employers. Some have no passports or cash and nowhere to go. Indians, Pakistanis, Vietnamese, Thais and Bangladeshis crowd the port of the eastern city of Benghazi. Their Turkish and Chinese managers escaped without them.

There has been little assistance thus far for workers from Ghana, Nigeria, Mali and Burkina Faso -  with their home countries too poor or unorganized to send assistance.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Amnesty: EU Failing Migrants, Refugees

Rights group says migrants, refugees subject to detention, extortion, beatings More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office 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.
Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deali
X
July 07, 2015 12:02 PM
If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs