News / Africa

Thousands of sub-Saharan Africans Remain Stranded in Libya

Refugees gather near burnt tents at Choucha camp in Tunisia near the Libyan border, May 22, 2011
Refugees gather near burnt tents at Choucha camp in Tunisia near the Libyan border, May 22, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

Many sub-Saharan migrants remain stranded in Libya as the conflict there continues. Most are from Ghana, Togo, Sudan, Nigeria and Cameroon, but many Malian and Egyptian migrants are also unable to return home.

The International Organization for Migration [IOM] says the migrants, often unskilled and undocumented, have been without jobs since the crisis began.

Only estimates

“What we know prior to the crisis in Libya is that there were literally hundreds of thousands of African migrant workers in Libya,” said IOM spokesman Jean Philippe Chauzy.

A more accurate estimate has been hard to come by because so many are undocumented and not registered with their embassies.

“Over the past four months, we’ve seen an exodus of migrant workers out of Libya. In excess of 900,000 people have left the country, have fled the country. That being said, there are probably tens of thousands of stranded migrant workers…that are still in Libya and cannot leave the country for security reasons or simply because they can’t afford to leave the country,” he said.

IOM teams are trying to locate the migrants in Tripoli and elsewhere and determine their humanitarian needs. After that, arrangements would be made to evacuate them, most likely to Tunisia or Egypt.

“We are also concerned about the plight of African workers, who are fleeing Libya, and arriving in very, very difficult and desperate circumstances in countries like Chad and in Niger,” he said.

IOM is working with both Libyan authorities and diplomatic missions to determine just how many migrant workers remain in the country.

“That’s quite a difficult job,” Chauzy said, “Many of those nationals from sub-Saharan Africa…were smuggled into Libya and were employed in the informal sector of the Libyan economy and therefore were totally invisible to the diplomatic missions and to the humanitarian community inside Libya.

Many migrants are also trying to make their way to neighboring Egypt.

“We’ve now had an outflow of migrant workers, mostly from eastern Libya into Egypt. The outflow continues and includes obviously migrant workers from African countries, but also from Asia. We also have migrant workers that are still continuing to come out through the Tunisian border. But our concern and our focus remains also very much on northern Niger and northern Chad,” he said.

He described the journey to Niger and Chad as “incredibly dangerous,” taking them across the desert in southern Libya. Once they cross the border, they face another long journey to find towns capable of providing humanitarian assistance.

“People who are arriving in those localities are usually completely exhausted simply because of the sheer difficulty they have faced,” Chauzy said.

Misrata

IOM has used the port of Misrata to evacuate migrants and others from Libya. Boats carry them to Benghazi.

“To date, we’ve evacuated about 7,200 stranded migrant workers out of Misrata. We’ve also managed every single time the boat went into Misrata to bring in hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid to the population of Misrata, including medical assistance. We’ve evacuated wounded people out of Misrata. Obviously, the needs in Misrata remain enormous,” he said.

IOM has helped evacuate about 31,000 people from Libya so far, including its Misrata operations.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid