News / Africa

    Libya Conflict Has Displaced 550,000 People

    Some of the 1,200 migrant workers who were evacuated from Misrata by boat, many suffering from dehydration and needing medical attention, leave the boat after it arrived at the port in Benghazi, Libya, April 15, 2011
    Some of the 1,200 migrant workers who were evacuated from Misrata by boat, many suffering from dehydration and needing medical attention, leave the boat after it arrived at the port in Benghazi, Libya, April 15, 2011

    U.S. officials said Monday that more than a half-million people, most of them third-country nationals, have fled Libya since the uprising against Moammar Gadhafi's government began in February. And they say about 5,000 people are joining the exodus every day. 

    Officials here say the outflow is affecting all six countries bordering Libya, but with the burden failing mainly on Tunisia and Egypt.

    They say that to help cope with it, the world community, led by U.N. agencies, has mounted one of the largest humanitarian airlifts in history.

    Senior officials at the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, who briefed reporters on Monday said an estimated 550,000 people have fled Libya since fighting began.

    They said the outflow consists largely of third country nationals who had been working there, but also includes Libyans fearing for their safety, and refugees from conflicts in Sudan and Eritrea who had been given shelter by Libya.

    Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration Reuben Brigety said that as of Monday, 117,000 people have been airlifted home to countries as far away as Bangladesh and Vietnam.

    He said the charter flights, organized by the U.N. High Commission for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration, or IOM, are intended to ease the strain on Tunisia and Egypt.

    "For both Tunisia and Egypt, you’re talking about two countries that are both very fragile politically at the moment, that have both undergone their own recent transitions," said Brigety. "So what we’ve tried to do is to continue to have the air bridge maintained, so that you don’t have large number of third country nationals build up in camps and create the sorts of security problems that those sorts of populations might create."

    Brigety said the airlift has been partially underwritten by a $13 million U.S. contribution to the IOM, part of the overall $47 million the United States has committed to humanitarian assistance related to the Libya conflict.

    That figure is separate from the $25 million in non-lethal assistance, including medical supplies, body armor and radios, the Obama administration pledged to Libyan rebels last week.

    Officials here say the first U.S. food aid commitment for Libya, consisting of more than 800 tons of beans and cooking oil, arrived Monday at the Egyptian port of Alexandria for shipment to relief centers near and inside Libya.

    Food and other relief supplies are being dispensed in Libya by international agencies. The State Department's Reuben Brigety said it is important that aid deliveries remain impartial and not be associated with either side in the conflict.

    "The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, UNOCHA, has consistently said that they do not see a need for military support for delivery of humanitarian assistance inside Libya at this point," added Brigety. "They continue to ask for respect for the Oslo Guidelines, which call for the use of military assistance only as a last resort. And we certainly have not had any indication that humanitarian assistance will be required to be delivered under armed escorts at the moment."

    USAID has a small team of officials in the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi to coordinate with the opposition Transitional National Council on aid needs in areas it controls.  A senior State Department envoy, Chris Stevens, handles U.S. political contacts with the TNC.

    You May Like

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    City could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters

    Turkey Aims New Crackdown at Journalists, Academics, Airline Workers

    Ankara continues targeting people allegedly linked to exiled cleric, who it says led the failed military coup

    Pakistan Ready to Inaugurate Rebuilt Afghan Border Crossing

    Construction of Torkham Gate triggered deadly clashes between Pakistani and Afghan military forces

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora