News / Africa

Evacuation Difficult for Sub-Saharan Migrants in Libyan Town

African migrant workers are seen at a farm where they had been hiding from rebel forces in Tripoli, Libya, August 28, 2011.
African migrant workers are seen at a farm where they had been hiding from rebel forces in Tripoli, Libya, August 28, 2011.
TEXT SIZE - +
Joe DeCapua

More than 1,200 sub-Saharan African migrants are seeking refuge in the southwestern Libyan town of Sebha. Warring parties are being called on to ensure no harm comes to them.

The International Organization for Migration says the migrants are at an IOM transit center. Most are Chadians, but there are others from Niger and Nigeria. Sebha is currently held by supporters of Moammar Gadhafi, but is surrounded by those fighting on behalf of the National Transitional Council (NTC).

“[They] are obviously very concerned about their security and want to be evacuated as soon as possible,” said IOM spokesman Jean-Philippe Chauzy.

In July the IOM airlifted nearly 1,400 Chadian and other migrants from Sebha. Many were women, children and elderly who had fled fighting in other parts of the country.

“We call upon the warring parties to ensure adequate protection. And then of course we’d like to be able to provide some assistance, particularly evacuation assistance, for those migrants,” said Chauzy.

Dire situation

Sebha is reported to have no electricity or fuel and little food and water.

“The situation in the town is dire,” he said, “The town is besieged. So yes, there are major problems in terms of sufficient food and water provisions, medical assistance.”

The IOM had lost contact with the town for several weeks and said it appeared communications had been intentionally cut.

“That being said, we have now confirmation from the Chadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also from our sources inside Sebha, that those migrants are now in dire straits and are desperate to be evacuated,” he said.

Surrounded

Pro-NTC forces could attack the town soon.

“We simply don’t know. The likelihood of an assault on Sebha is always there and if that happens then obviously I suspect very strongly that the airport would be a strategic objective,” he said.

An assault on the airport would prevent evacuating the migrants by plane.

“So we have to look at other options, including an evacuation by road. But we have to be realistic. We need to get firm guarantees from the warring parties that we will be able, not just to access those people, but evacuate them safely by road. And that’s quite a challenge we’re working on at the moment,” said Chauzy.

The IOM is sending a high-level delegation to both Tripoli and Benghazi to discuss the migrant situation.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 266 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid