Assessment Mission Finds Migrants in Remote Libyan Town of Al-Kufrah in Need of Help

Posted: 
08/15/11

An inter-agency assessment to the south eastern Libyan town of
Al-Kufrah involving IOM, has found around 3,000 to 4,000
African  migrants in  a camp on the southern outskirts of
the town living under basic shelter and without access to running
water, sanitation, electricity or security.

The camp was established many years ago for the many African
migrants transiting the area en route to Benghazi or to Europe in
search of work but has limited oversight. Prior to the outbreak of
the conflict in Libya, an estimated 15,000 migrants lived there,
mainly Chadians and Sudanese. Now the camp population fluctuates on
a daily basis as migrants arrive or leave for Benghazi some 600 kms
away, or elsewhere.

Accommodation consists largely of whatever material migrants can
find to act as a cover over wooden branches and straw roofs and is
flimsy at best.

Migrants expressed their concern to IOM about security issues
and the lack of electricity and health care facilities in the camp.
With no surrounding fence or wall around the camp to protect it,
the migrants said they suffered much from theft, physical assault
and sometimes murder as people enter the camp at night and steal
their belongings at gunpoint.

The temporary and flimsy nature of their shelters combined with
the camp's exposed position near the desert means migrants are
constantly being bitten by scorpions with the nearest health
facility 10kms away by road. If they return home at night, they are
prey to attacks.

A representative for the Chadian migrants at the camp told IOM
that about 1,000 of his compatriots want to return home but have no
money to pay for transport with many Sudanese migrants also in a
similar position.

The assessment team, which included representatives from UNHCR
and the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) ACTED and Mercy
Corps, found other migrants from various nationalities living
elsewhere in al-Kufrah, working as casual labourers, agricultural
or farm workers or carrying out menial tasks.

The team, whose mission was to assess the humanitarian situation
in this remote town near the Sudanese border, found the lack of
healthcare capacity to be the main issue with only one or two
surgeons left at the hospital. Most of the doctors and nurses had
been Egyptian migrants who had returned home at the start of the
crisis.

Some North Koreans and Pakistani healthcare workers have
nevertheless remained in the healthcare sector in the town,
according to the Libyan Red Crescent in the town.

IOM is now looking to see how it can best help the migrants in
the area.

For further information, please contact:

Martin Jerrett

Tel: + 2189924051150

E-mail: "mailto:martin_jerrett@yahoo.com">martin_jerrett@yahoo.com