The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Friday said it voluntarily deported 118 illegal immigrants, including women and children, back to their country from Libya, Trend reports citing Xinhua.
IOM said in a statement that "118 Ghanaian immigrants stranded in Libya over COVID-19 restrictions boarded a flight home yesterday."
"All were medically screened by IOM prior to departure and received personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves and hand sanitizers, and psychosocial assistance," it added.
"The organization will continue to provide support during a 14-day quarantine period in Ghana and later, it will provide reintegration assistance," the statement said.
Before the Libyan authorities closed the country's borders as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, IOM had been running a Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) program that arranges the return of illegal immigrants stranded in Libya to their countries of origin.
"We continue to operate a hotline for immigrants and to work very closely with embassies, the Libyan authorities, and governmental entities in countries of origin to help people return home and rebuild their lives," said the program manager Ashraf Hassan.
In the first quarter of 2020, IOM's VHR program helped 1,466 stranded immigrants return home from Libya, the statement said.
The state of insecurity and chaos from which Libya has been suffering since the downfall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011 triggered the wave of illegal immigrants who want to cross the Mediterranean from the country towards Europe.