IOM begins pilot evacuation in Libya
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has started a pilot evacuation for migrants in Libya, Xinhua reported.
At the same time, the IOM has asked both the government of Muamar Gadaffi and the rebels to ensure migrants are allowed safe passage to the port of Tripoli for evacuation.
The IOM said in a media release late on Monday that it has Chartered a boat en route to Tripoli to begin pilot evacuation of stranded migrants. It will evacuate more stranded migrants by sea if there is a humanitarian need.
"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," said the organization in a statement to Xinhua.
"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 counter-parts on the ground," said Pasquale Lupoli, IOM Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, adding "We hope the IOM boat will dock on time, and that the organization will be able to safely carry out its mission."
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 on Sunday to evacuate 124 migrants from Misrata. On board include IOM operational and medical staff.
The boat, the Tasucu, is due to arrive in Tripoli on Tuesday and 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."
However, the IOM said, 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.
The organization said more than 5,000 Bangladeshis, Filipinos and Egyptians alone have since wished 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.