IOM evacuates 1,200 stranded migrants from Libya's Misrata
About 1,200 migrants stranded in besieged Misrata have been evacuated, and are on the way to eastern Libya's Benghazi, the International Organisation for Migration said Friday.
Most of the evacuees were Bangladeshis and Egyptians, and included women, children and elderly.
"The migrants were among the 8,300 migrants identified by IOM who have been living in the open around the port of Misrata without shelter, adequate food, access to clean water or medical care," said the inter-governmental group in a statement.
"Their condition has been of major concern to IOM which has been trying to evacuate the thousands of migrants from the city for several weeks but which has been hampered by lack of funds and security issues," it added.
The ship will turn back to Misrata to evacuate a second round of migrants, once the first batch arrives in Benghazi.
However, if no new funding arrived, there would not be a third round of evacuations, the agency warned.
"This is a terrible situation. The plight of the migrants in Misrata, Tripoli, Sabah and many other Libyan towns and cities, stranded without the means to survive is the humanitarian crisis in the region," said IOM regional representative for the Middle East, Pasquale Lupoli.
"They are the forgotten victims of the crisis and shouldn't be," added Lupoli.
Misrata, which has been besieged by Moamer Kadhafi's forces for weeks, came under heavy attack Thursday by the regime, which fired dozens of Grad missiles and tank shells that killed at least 13 people and wounded 50, a rebel spokesman said.
© 2011 AFP