IOM pleads for funds to help evacuate Libya migrants
The International Organization for Migration pleaded Friday for funds to keep repatriating foreign migrants fleeing war-torn Libya, saying it could only afford just 20 evacuations a day now.
"Money for IOM operations has dried up. We have been forced to dramatically reduce the number of people we can evacuate a day from the height of 6,000 a day to an absolute bare minimum," said Jemini Pandya, spokeswoman for the inter-governmental agency.
Pandya told AFP that since Monday, the agency has been able only to pay for the evacuation of 20 people a day.
While it is still helping to process other evacuations, those are being funded by leftover financing from the UN refugee agency.
The IOM said it now urgently needed $160 million in order to carry on its evacuation operations. The amount would go towards the evacuation of 75,000 people, as well as aid supplies such as food and medication.
"The crisis shows no signs of abating and thousands of migrants are fleeing the country on a daily basis," noted Pandya.
Some 410,000 people have already fled the violence in Libya since the crisis began late February, said IOM, adding that more than 12,000 migrants are still stranded on Libya's border with Tunisia and Egypt.
© 2011 AFP