News / Africa

    UNHCR: Preparing For Worst Case Scenario in Libya

    A Libyan family make their way to the terminal at the airport in Tripoli, Libya, March 17, 2011
    A Libyan family make their way to the terminal at the airport in Tripoli, Libya, March 17, 2011

    The UN High Commissioner for Refugees and International Organization for Migration (UNHCR) warn escalating fighting in Libya could prompt a mass exodus from the country.   They say they are preparing for a so-called worst-case scenario to assist hundreds of thousands of people who might flee across borders into neighboring countries.  

    Since the Libyan revolution erupted in February, more than 50,000 migrants stranded at border camps in Tunisia and Egypt have been transported home by the IOM and UNHCR.  Tens of thousands of others have been taken home by airplanes and ships provided by their governments.

    UNHCR’s Coordinator of Operations for the Libya Emergency, Andrew Harper, says this is the biggest civilian airlift jointly undertaken by the two organizations since the first Gulf War in 1991.

    While this is a huge success, he says the crisis in Libya continues and aid agencies have to be able to respond to the unknown.  

    “No one knows what is going to take place in Libya.  Events are changing on the ground more rapidly than we can appreciate.  The imposition of the no-fly zone has a number of implications, which could impact on both the western and eastern borders and, if there is one strategy that we have, that is to be extremely flexible and be prepared for the worst-case scenario,” Harper said.

    And the worst-case scenario is that the migratory flow happening now could very quickly turn into a huge refugee flow as well.

    Currently, IOM and UNHCR estimate that averages of 1,500 to 2,500 people in need of evacuation are crossing into Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Niger every day.

    IOM’s Head of Emergency and Post-Crisis Division, Fernando Calado, says this number could go up dramatically as many migrants from third world countries are still in Libya.

    “And, they are probably assessing as everybody is right now what the options are now before making a decision of leaving or not. Before the crisis started, there were between 2 million and 2.5 million migrant workers.  So, if you take that into consideration, the potential case load is important,” Calado said.

    The UNHCR, IOM and other agencies are making contingency plans to deal with a possible spike in the number of migrants and refugees fleeing Libya.  Earlier this month, the United Nations launched an inter-agency appeal for more than $160 million to help an anticipated 400,000 people fleeing to the Egyptian and Tunisian sides of the border.  

    To date, the UNHCR reports more than 300,000 people have fled Libya to neighboring countries.  

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora