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Migrants continue to be vulnerable in Libyan conflict - IOM.

The International Organization of Migration (IOM)

said on Tuesday that migrants continue to be vulnerable in Libyan conflict.

The ongoing conflict and political stalemate in Libya has left migrants in

a situation of continued vulnerability, with large groups stranded across the

country.

"During an assessment of the humanitarian needs in various parts of Libya,

IOM staff reported on the plight of a large community of mostly African and

Filipino migrant workers sheltering in two sites in the capital, Tripoli,"

said IOM Spokeswoman Jemini Pandya in a press briefing.

IOM staff said "some of the migrants have been without jobs since the

beginning of the crisis as their employers had left the country. Feeling they

have nothing to return to, they stay on in Libya in the vain hope that they

may receive back pay from their employers or find another job. Others have

been left to take care of employers' properties but have not been paid since

February."

The majority, from Ghana, Togo, Sudan, Nigeria, Cameroon and other African

countries, are unskilled and undocumented workers.

Like the others, they are dependent on whatever food and shelter people of

goodwill from within and outside their community can provide, with some basic

food prices having increased by up to three times since the start of the

crisis.

Although the numbers of migrants managing to flee Libya on a daily basis

have slowed down in recent weeks, migrants continue to be stranded in towns

and cities around the country.

The Malian Ambassador to Tripoli estimates between 8,000-10,000 of his

compatriots remain in western Libya, mostly in Sabha, Gadames, Ubari and

Murzuk, while the vulnerability of Sub-Saharan Africans in the eastern part of

the country has led to Malians there fleeing into Egypt.

Thousands of Egyptian migrants are also believed to be still in the

country, according to the Egyptian Ambassador in Tripoli. While most are

thought to be in the south in cities such as Gatroun and Sabha, others are in

places like Sirt and in need of evacuation.

As these reports emerge, IOM is continuing its efforts to access Gatroun,

where many Chadians are reported to be stranded. IOM interviews with Chadians

who are returning home by truck reveal that many migrants have stayed as long

as they could in Libya in the hope of being given months of unpaid wages. Lack

of food and water was forcing them to finally leave.

Meanwhile, an eighth IOM mission to evacuate another group of migrants by

sea from the port city of Misrata concluded late last week.

Thirty-six war-wounded casualties were evacuated to Benghazi with the

migrants, bringing the number of people rescued from Misrata to about 7,200.

The IOM-chartered ship also delivered hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid

and provided the logistics for the deployment of an IOM-led interagency

assessment team to Misrata to assess humanitarian needs there after months of

fighting.

So far, IOM has provided evacuation assistance to about 31,000 people from

inside Libya, including the Misrata operations. More than 9,000 migrants,

including Sub-Saharan Africans have been transported by road from Tripoli to

the Tunisian border and nearly 15,000 from Benghazi in the east to the

Egyptian border.

Since late February, IOM has helped nearly 144,000 migrants in Algeria,

Egypt, Tunisia, Chad and Niger, with evacuation assistance back to their home

countries.

As the crisis drags on, the numbers of people fleeing across Libya borders

continue to mount steadily. More than 952,000 people have so far crossed into

its six neighboring countries or arrived in Italy and Malta.

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Publication:Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
Geographic Code:6LIBY
Date:Jun 7, 2011
Words:609
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