News / Africa

    More Than 140,000 People Flee Libya

    Egyptian, Tunisian and Libyan refugees in Ras Ajdir at the Tunisia-Libya border, Tuesday, March 1, 2011
    Egyptian, Tunisian and Libyan refugees in Ras Ajdir at the Tunisia-Libya border, Tuesday, March 1, 2011
    Lisa Schlein

    The United Nations refugee agency says over the past 10 days, more than 140,000 people have fled to Egypt and Tunisia from Libya.  The UNHCR says tens of thousands of people are stuck at the borders and in urgent need of help.  

    The U.N. refugee agency says the situation at the Libya-Tunisia border is chaotic. It says 14,000 people crossed the border Monday, the highest number to date.   

    The agency says it is crucial to move tens of thousands of people away from the overcrowded border to avoid a humanitarian crisis.  But transportation is scarce.  

    UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming says the agency has erected 1,500 tents, which can shelter 12,000 people.  And she says two airlifts planned for Thursday will deliver tents and supplies for up to 10,000 people.

    “We have now visited the border entry point to Tunisia.  What is unfortunate is that thousands of people are waiting on the Libyan side of the border to enter.  Some for as long as three days.  They are obliged to spend the night outside in the bitter cold without shelter.  We are very concerned that a large number of sub-Saharan Africans are not being allowed into Tunisia at this point.  We are in negotiation with self-appointed volunteers from the local community who are guarding the border," she said.

    Fleming says nearly 70,000 people have crossed from Libya into Egypt since February 19. She says the majority are Egyptians.  

    She says the UNHCR is particularly worried about thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers stuck inside Libya.  She says the refugees come mainly from Iraq, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea.  She says they have been living in Libya for a long time but now are desperate to leave.

    Fleming reads a recent message sent by a refugee to UNHCR staff in Libya describing the fearful conditions under which he and his family are living.  She says refugees and migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are particularly vulnerable.

    “We are under attack by local people who are saying that we are mercenaries killing people.  Let me say that they did not want to see black people. There is racism.  We need help.  Please, please, please, where is the humanity?  Where is the United Nations?  I am crying.  I need help.  Our home was burnt down.  Ten Somalis were killed in Libya in the last seven days.  Why is nobody concerned about the Somali migrants in Libya?  We are victims of racism and ruthless exploitation," she said.

    Fleming says the UNHCR offers assistance to those refugees who are able to reach its office in Tripoli.  She says the agency’s 24-hour hotline continues to receive desperate calls from refugees in Libya and their family members outside.  She says they say they feel trapped, threatened and hunted.

    Mideast Unrest 2011 on Dipity.

     

    Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    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.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora