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 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
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 A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid