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

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    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.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.