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

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurdish Leader: Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid