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

Multimedia Baltimore 'Victory Rally' Follows Charges in Detainee Death

Saturday's rally is largest organized gathering since state's attonrey filed felony charges in police-custody death of Freddie Gray More

UN Denies Child Sex Abuse Cover Up in CAR

UNHCR says senior official suspected of leaking report suspended for breaching rules More

Nepal Officials Slammed Over Aid Response

VOA News has compiled from various organizations complaints from across Nepal of bottlenecks at customs, repeated harassing inspections of aid convoys and seizure of goods 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.
From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil Wari
X
Henry Ridgwell
May 03, 2015 1:12 AM
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Black Families Use Baltimore Case to Revisit 'Police Talk'

Following Freddie Gray’s death in police custody this month, VOA interviewed black families throughout the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore about how they discuss the case. Over and over, parents pointed to a crucial talk they say every black mother or father has with their children. Victoria Macchi has more on how this conversation is passed down through generations.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video 'Woman in Gold' Uses Artwork as Symbol of Cultural Identity

Simon Curtis’ legal drama, "Woman in Gold," is based on the true story of an American Jewish refugee from Austria who fights to reclaim a famous Gustav Klimt painting stolen from her family by the Nazis during World War II. It's a haunting film that speaks to the hearts of millions who have sought to reclaim their past, stripped from them 70 years ago. VOA's Penelope Poulou reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video First Surgical Glue Approved for Use Inside Body

While medical adhesives are becoming more common, none had been approved for use inside the body until now. Earlier this year, the first ever biodegradable surgical glue won that approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on the innovation and its journey from academia to market.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Study: One in Six Species Threatened with Extinction

Climate change is transforming the planet. Unless steps are taken to reduce global warming, scientists predict rising seas, stronger and more frequent storms, drought, fire and floods. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, a new study on species extinction underscores the need to take action to avoid the most catastrophic effects of rising temperatures.
Video

Video Taviani Brothers' 'Wondrous Boccaccio' Offers Tales of Love, Humor

The Italian duo of Paolo and Vittorio Taviani have been making movies for half a century: "The Night of the Shooting Stars," "Padre Padrone," "Good Morning, Babylon." Now in their 80s, the brothers have turned to one of the treasures of Italian culture for their latest film. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver reports.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Baltimore Riots Shed Light on City’s Troubled Past

National Guard troops took up positions Tuesday in Baltimore, Maryland, as authorities tried to restore order after rioting broke out a day earlier. It followed Monday's funeral of a 25-year-old black man who died while in police custody earlier this month. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Challenges Await Aid Organizations on the Ground in Nepal

A major earthquake rocked Nepal on Saturday and killed thousands, injured thousands more and sent countless Nepalese outside to live in makeshift tent villages. The challenges to Nepal are enormous, with some reconstruction estimates at around $5 billion. Aid workers from around the world face challenges getting into Nepal, which likely makes for a difficult recovery. Arash Arabasadi has the story from Washington.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs