News / Africa

Sub-Saharan Migrants Remain Stranded in Libyan Town

African migrant workers whom rebels accused of being mercenaries seen detained in a military base in Tripoli, Libya, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. Hundreds of migrant workers remain stranded in Libya after months of war unable to flee the country. (AP Photo/Serg
African migrant workers whom rebels accused of being mercenaries seen detained in a military base in Tripoli, Libya, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. Hundreds of migrant workers remain stranded in Libya after months of war unable to flee the country. (AP Photo/Serg
Joe DeCapua

About 3,000 sub-Saharan migrants remain stranded in the western Libyan town of Sebha, which has been under attack from anti-Gadhafi forces. Humanitarian agencies say food, water and shelter are in very short supply.

And getting worse…

Most of the migrants in Sebha, about 2,000, are from Chad. The rest are from the Horn of Africa, Middle East and Asia. And their numbers are growing.

They’ve been arriving in significant numbers in the past few days, as the situation in Sebha worsens. Reports that we’re getting from the ground from the Chadian deputy consular in Sebha is that overnight on Sunday to Monday there was fighting throughout the night.

“People clearly are feeling very scared and threatened and are seeking refuge where they can. And for migrants, it’s in our center,” said Jemini Pandya of the International Organization for Migration, which has a transit center in the town.

The IOM has now rented a compound adjacent to its center to try to accommodate their increasing numbers.

“The situation in the town is becoming increasingly difficult,” she said, “The food is becoming very scarce. There’s no running water and no electricity. And those conditions are replicated exactly in our center. IOM’s local staff, who are working there, are providing whatever food that they can get. But the fact that we’ve got ever increasing numbers of people arriving – combined with the fact that there’s less and less food available for us to buy in Sebha – means that it’s becoming an increasingly difficult and worrying situation for both us and for the migrants.”

No safe route out

IOM wants to evacuate the migrants by road, but it’s simply too dangerous. A safe corridor is yet to be negotiated and there is little fuel available for trucks. The flow of fuel to the town stopped when Tripoli fell to forces loyal to the National Transitional Council.

There are problems elsewhere for sub-Saharan migrants as well.  Between February and early September, more than 75,000 migrants fled Libya into Niger. Many had passed through the northern town of Dirkou. Lately, it’s been difficult to evacuate them from Dirkou to safer, better supplied areas.

Pandya said, “In the past few weeks, since the fall of Tripoli in particular, there’s been a surge in the number of arrivals of sub-Saharan Africans into Niger. These aren’t mainly Nigeriens. They actually represent many, many West African nationalities, particularly Nigerians, actually, who have been telling our IOM staff on the ground in Dirkou, where we have a transit center, that they’re fleeing now because of the targeting of sub-Saharan Africans in Libya.”

IOM had been evacuating the migrants from Dirkou to Agadez, the main town in northern Niger. From there, the migrants are taken to Niamey and then to their home countries.  But in the last two weeks, IOM had has problems getting trucks and fuel. And there’s also been a lack of military escort for those convoys.  That resulted in several thousand migrants awaiting transport in Dirkou, which is not equipped to handle that many people for a prolonged period.

IOM, the Niger Red Crescent Society and other agencies have managed to provide three meals a day and health checks. The agencies received good news Monday night. A Niger military escort was made available for a convoy to carry 1,000 migrants from Dirkou to Agadez.

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