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.
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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid