News / Africa

    UN: Not Enough Planes to Transport People Fleeing Libyan Crisis

    Bangladeshi evacuees wait for food at a refugee camp near the Libyan and Tunisian border crossing of Ras Jdir after fleeing unrest in Libya March 11, 2011
    Bangladeshi evacuees wait for food at a refugee camp near the Libyan and Tunisian border crossing of Ras Jdir after fleeing unrest in Libya March 11, 2011

    The United Nations refugee agency reports evacuation flights from Tunisia and Egypt are not keeping pace with the number of new arrivals from Libya.  The UNHCR says about 2,500 people are arriving at the Tunisian border every day.

    The U.N. refugee agency reports 17,000 people are at the Tunisian transit camp waiting to go home.  The agency says they include 25 nationalities, most of them Bangladeshi.  

    The UNHCR says among them are some 800 people who cannot go home because they come from places such as Somalia.  It says other solutions will have to be found for them.

    Both the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration are appealing for more long-haul flights to Bangladesh and other Asian and sub-Saharan African destinations to handle the crush of people.

    UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming says new arrivals recount having to pass through more than 100 military checkpoints between the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and the Ras Adjir border-crossing with Tunisia.

    “We have heard consistent reports, over and over again, that telephones, SIM cards and cash have been taken at these checkpoints and also numerous accounts of threats and discrimination on the basis of skin color throughout the country.  Intense fighting in the west is reportedly leading to limited access to hospitals with many new arrivals saying they were too afraid to venture out of their homes for food," she said.  

    Refugee spokeswoman Fleming says some Eritrean and Somali refugees who recently arrived in Tunisia tell aid workers of friends and family in Tripoli who are too afraid to leave their homes, shelters or hiding places to travel to the border.

    She says the UNHCR and other aid agencies in Tripoli so far have received close to 800 calls from refugees and asylum-seekers on their 24-hour hotline.  She says the refugees ask for help in obtaining the documents they need to leave the country.  Many convey their fears of being caught up in fighting.

    Fleming says an estimated 4,500 people are stranded at the Egyptian border, and the majority are Bangladeshi.  She says most people are sleeping in the open in the freezing cold.

    The UNHCR reports more than 230,000 people have fled the violence in Libya since the revolution erupted in mid-February.

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

    You May Like

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    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 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.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora