Libyan refugee numbers rising `by the hour`: UN agency

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 10:57

Geneva: The UN migration agency said
on Tuesday the number of refugees fleeing unrest in Libya was
rising "by the hour" as it began evacuating thousands of
people from the restive north African country.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM)
opened two transit centres for 800 refugees at Ras Jedir on
the border between Tunisia and Libya and renewed a call for 11
million dollars (7.9 million euros) to assist refugees.
Today, 900 Egyptian refugees were to be repatriated
from Tunisia on five special flights and another 900 Egyptians
were to follow on Tuesday, the IOM said in a communique.

But the evacuation by sea of 2,000 Egyptians, who fled
the violence, from the Tunisian tourist island of Djerba was
postponed because of severe weather, the IOM said.

The UN agency will also repatriate by sea thousands of
Egyptians stranded in the eastern Libyan port of Benghazi.

Hundreds of other nationals who fled two weeks of
fighting between supporters of embattled strongman Moamer
Kadhafi and his foes are currently waiting for their
repatriation on the border.

The IOM said it had assisted a group of 600 Vietnamese
without proper ID and rapidly evacuated them. But 5,000 of the
10,500 Vietnamese nationals living in Libya were still waiting
for their evacuation.

The agency also repatriated 800 people to Niger.
The UNHCR refugee agency said more than 110,000
people, mainly foreign migrants, had fled Libya to
neighbouring countries and thousands more were arriving at the
borders.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 10:57

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