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Relief Groups Increase Aid to Foreigners Fleeing Libya

Bangladeshi migrant workers rest while they wait to return home at a refugees camp near the Libyan and Tunisian border crossing of Ras Jdir after fleeing unrest in Libya, March 5, 2011

International relief organizations are expanding efforts to help foreigners who are trying to flee the unrest in Libya.

The International Organization on Migration said Saturday it is stepping up efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to about 5,000 foreigners stranded in Salum, a town on the Libyan-Egyptian border. The relief group says it is doubling food and water rations to help the foreigners, which include women and children, at the border post.

News organizations quote foreign workers who say Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces had detained them as they tried to reach the Libyan-Tunisian border.

On Friday, the United Nations refugee agency said the number of people crossing into Tunisia had dropped sharply because heavily armed troops were guarding the Libyan side of the border.

The International Committee of the Red Cross launched an appeal for nearly $26 million on Friday to assist thousands of people affected by the crisis.

Relief organizations say thousands of foreigners - many of them Bangladeshis with limited resources - await evacuation out of the region.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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