Increasing Reports of Migrants in Need of Protection in Tripoli

Posted: 
09/01/11

IOM is receiving an increasing number of reports of migrants in
need of assistance and protection in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Despite a slow improvement of the situation in the city where
there is limited access to food, potable water and fuel, the
security situation nevertheless remains potentially volatile.

Individual migrants contacting IOM are telling the Organization
that they are scared to leave their homes for fear of being
arrested or killed, claiming that even documented migrants are
afraid to go out and find food and water because others have done
so and have not returned home.

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Although there are no reliable figures on the existing migrant
population in Tripoli and from growing numbers of anecdotal
reports, it is clear to IOM that there are a high number of very
vulnerable migrants in the city. Other organizations are also
alerting IOM to migrant groups they have come across and who are in
need of help.

Most migrants are deliberately not congregating in large numbers
to avoid being conspicuous or targeted. Access to Sub-Saharan
migrants is still being hampered by security issues and
individually constructed check-points or because the migrants are
afraid to meet.

While many of the migrants want IOM to help them leave Libya,
others don't. Among them are a group of 800 Sub-Saharan Africans
stranded at a fishing port who are either too scared to return to
their home countries and want asylum or who have no prospect of a
livelihood upon returning.

The significant increase in food prices and either limited or no
access to funds to buy what is available means there are
ever-growing numbers of migrants in need of humanitarian
assistance.

"Access to food is clearly a major issue for migrants in
Tripoli. The first group of migrants IOM evacuated from Tripoli
last week were really hungry. As a result we increased our food
supplies on subsequent evacuations," says IOM Regional Director for
the Middle East and North Africa, Pasquale Lupoli.

Meanwhile, IOM staff in Tripoli are continuing to work to access
vulnerable migrants. For those who want to leave Libya, the
Organization is now working on an evacuation operation by road.

Nearly 1,600 migrants and vulnerable Libyans have been evacuated
by IOM by boat from Tripoli so far.

For further information, please contact:

Jean Philippe Chauzy

Tel: + 41 22 717 9361/+41 79 285 4366

E-mail: "mailto:jpchauzy@iom.int">jpchauzy@iom.int

or

Jemini Pandya

IOM Geneva

Tel: + 41 22 717 9486/+ 41 79 217 3374

E-mail: "mailto:jpandya@iom.int">jpandya@iom.int