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

Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation

Problems with database have resulted in extensive backlog of applications, affected State Department's consular offices all over the world More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

World Bank: Boko Haram Stalls African Aid Projects

Islamist group’s terrorism sets back agriculture, health efforts in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid