IOM evacuates another 1,000 people from Misrata

At least 4,000 more are awaiting rescue in the Libyan city.

Updated: Apr 18, 2011, 22:34 PM IST

Geneva: Close to 1,000 people stranded in
besieged Misrata were evacuated on Monday but at least 4,000 more
are awaiting rescue in the Libyan city, the International
Organisation for Migration said.

The group of 971 who were rescued by a chartered boat
include 650 Ghanaians, as well as 100 Libyans, among them a
child who was shot in the face, the inter-governmental agency

The boat was expected to arrive later today in the rebel
stronghold of Benghazi, and migrants who are deemed physically
able to travel will be taken in the coming days by road to the
border with Egypt.

The IOM warned however that thousands more are awaiting
rescue and that the situation on the ground is getting
increasingly difficult for further evacuation missions.

"We have a very, very small window to get everyone out.
We do not have the luxury of having days, but hours," said
Pasquale Lupoli, IOM`s regional representative for the Middle

"Instead of carrying out several further missions that
will go into next week, what we now need is to have a ship
that can accommodate at least 4,000 people and do one last
mission that can take everyone out at the same time
immediately," she added.

Spokeswoman Jemini Pandya noted that those stranded in
Misrata are extremely weak and dehydrated after living nearly
two months in the open and with little food and no access to
clean water.

Pointing to the first mission which rescued about 1,200
people, Pandya noted that "some migrants would not have
survived another day" had they not been rescued then.

"We urgently need donors and governments to put such a
ship and funds at our disposal to carry out a mission on this
scale. Every hour counts and the migrants still in Misrata
cannot survive much longer like this," said Lupoli.