Posted by: africanpressorganization | 7 March 2011

IOM Appeals for US$49.2 Million to Help Migrants Caught Up in Libyan Violence




IOM Appeals for US$49.2 Million to Help Migrants Caught Up in Libyan Violence



GENEVA, Switzerland, March 7, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM Press Note

IOM has today increased its appeal for the Libyan crisis to US$49.2 million dollars, urging the international donor community to not let up in responding to the crisis.

The funds would allow the Organization to assist in the evacuation of up to 65,000 migrants caught up in the Libyan crisis, including groups still inside the country. The appeal would also enable IOM to continue providing humanitarian assistance including food, water, shelter, medical care and medical travel assistance to migrants who have fled Libya.

Despite the sharp drop in migrants crossing from Libya’s borders in recent days, large numbers of migrants are still arriving at Ras Adjir at the Tunisian border and at Salum on the Egyptian border on a daily basis.

Nearly 5,800 migrants arrived at the two borders on Sunday 6th March, the majority at Salum.

“IOM is greatly concerned at the plight of Libyans and migrants who are still stranded inside Libya. Those managing to get out, in particular Sub-Saharan Africans, are recounting to us terrible stories of targeting, physical violence and of being held back from leaving. We once again urge Libya to allow all those wanting to leave the country safe passage out,” says IOM Director General, William Lacy Swing.

Since 20th February, nearly 213,000 migrants have fled to Libya’s borders with Tunisia, Egypt, Niger and now Algeria, an estimated 15 per cent of its foreign population.

Tens of thousands more have been evacuated to various countries such as Malta, Greece, Turkey and Sudan with several thousand of them still stranded there and in need of assistance to get home.

Although the vast majority of those migrants have now been helped to get home through a concerted effort of governments and organizations such as IOM and UNHCR, many thousands of migrants still need evacuating.

Up until March 7th, IOM had evacuated 15,000 migrants by air and sea to Egypt, Bangladesh, Ghana, Mali and other countries in just over a week. Several hundreds more have been evacuated by road from Libya.

More than 22,500 migrants were still in need of evacuation assistance on 6th March, the bulk of them from Bangladesh. However, these figures change on an almost hourly basis with migrants leaving on flights home or because of new arrivals at the borders.

Today, 7th March, IOM is evacuating nearly 600 Bangladeshi and Ghanaian migrants from Tunisia co-funded by UNHCR, and assisting in the evacuation of nearly 1,600 Egyptians to Cairo on British, Italian, German, Spanish, Swedish planes.

“We need to keep the momentum up. IOM appreciates the rapid response of governments and donors so far to the joint appeal by IOM and UNHCR for assistance to carry out a mass evacuation of migrants from Tunisia and Egypt. The longer the crisis continues in Libya, the more people are going to need help,” says Swing. “We have to make sure their suffering is not prolonged.”


International Office of Migration (IOM)


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