IOM Chartered Boat En Route to Tripoli to Begin Pilot Evacuation of Stranded Migrants

Posted: 
08/21/11

An IOM chartered boat is currently en route to the Libyan capital,
Tripoli, to carry out an initial sea evacuation of migrants
stranded in the city.

The IOM chartered boat, which has a capacity to carry 300
people, left the eastern city of Benghazi Monday morning after
completing a mission late Sunday to evacuate 124 migrants from
Misrata.

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The boat, the Tasucu, is due to arrive in Tripoli on Tuesday and
will leave for Benghazi as soon as IOM is able to successfully
board the migrants.

From there, IOM will use an on-going operation to take rescued
migrants to the Egyptian border at Salloum by road before assisting
them to return to their home countries.

On board are several IOM operational and medical staff.

However, with a rapidly evolving situation in the Libyan
capital, it is unclear how many foreign nationals working in the
country would still wish to leave. More than 5,000 Bangladeshis,
Filipinos and Egyptians alone have registered their desire to
leave. Many more, including Sub-Saharan Africans who live on the
outskirts of Tripoli and who have not been able to reach their
embassies, might also require assistance.

IOM had been made aware of many thousands of migrants of several
nationalities wanting to leave Tripoli but who had been unable to
do so as fighting on the western front had cut off the road route
to the Tunisian border.

“The situation is extremely fluid, not only in terms of
how many people may have changed their minds about leaving, but
also in terms of changing counterparts on the ground,” says
Pasquale Lupoli, IOM Regional Director for the Middle East and
North Africa. “We hope the IOM boat will be able to dock on
Tuesday on time and that the Organization will be able to safely
carry out its mission.”

With migrants scattered around Tripoli and fighting still
reported in some parts of the city, IOM is calling for both parties
to ensure migrants are allowed to safely make their way to the port
for evacuation.

IOM will evacuate more stranded migrants by sea if there is a
humanitarian need.

For further information, please contact:

Jean Philippe Chauzy

IOM Geneva

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

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

or

Jumbe Omari Jumbe

Tel: + 41 22 717 9405/+ 41 79 812 7734

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