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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs