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

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend 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.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More