Aid boat for Misrata to rescue stranded refugees: IOM

16th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

A second boat carrying humanitarian aid is to set sail for the besieged Libyan port of Misrata Saturday where it will also rescue stranded refugees, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said.

"The operation, funded by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Office (ECHO), aims to rescue as many migrants as possible from the more than 7,000 migrants still waiting for help at the port," the IOM said in a statement.

On Friday nearly 1,200 migrants of various nationalities were rescued by the IOM, including women, children and the elderly. The Geneva-based organisation described them as very weak and dehydrated with many needing medical attention on the journey to Benghazi, the stronghold of the Libyan rebels.

"Every day matters," said Jeremy Haslam, IOM operations leader on the boat. "We need to get back to Misrata as fast as we can."

The rescued migrants were among some 8,300 identified by the IOM who have been camping out around Misrata without adequate shelter, clean water or food and no medical care.

The IOM efforts to help them have been hampered by lack of funds and security concerns, it said.

The aid boat is carrying several hundred tonnes of supplies including medicine and food as well as a few ambulances donated by the UAE Red Crescent Society. The other aid for Misrata was donated by Qatar, Libyan civil society organizations and the International Medical Corps (IMC).

Meanwhile, about 800 of the nearly 1,200 migrants who were taken to Benghazi on Friday will be taken by IOM staff by road to Salum on the Egyptian border with Libya on Saturday.

The remaining migrants fit enough to make the road journey to Egypt will be assisted on Sunday, the IOM said.

© 2011 AFP

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