UN evacuates 900 Egyptian migrants from Tunisia

Ahram Online, Monday 28 Feb 2011

As migrant workers flee the violence in Libya, they find themselves stranded in perilous conditions at the country's borders

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) plans to evacuate 900 Egyptian migrants from Tunisia to Egypt on five charter flights with another 900 tomorrow, Tuesday 1 March. 

A sea evacuation of about 2,000 Egyptian migrants from the port at Djerba had also been planned but bad weather has so far hampered efforts. IOM expects this operation to get underway in the coming days as the weather improves.

In addition, IOM is looking to evacuate thousands of Egyptians stranded in the Libyan port city of Benghazi by sea to Alexandria in Egypt.

More than 100,000 migrants from many nationalities have escaped into Tunisia and Egypt, with a growing number now stranded at Libya’s borders with Egypt and Tunisia.  

With the large outflows putting enormous strain on the local infrastructure, in Tunisia in particular, it is imperative that the migrants are evacuated as soon as possible.  

With plummetting temperatures at night and strong desert winds, shelter as well as water and sanitation is critical.

In Egypt, where 7,000 migrants are stranded in a compound in no-man’s land between the two countries without papers or food and water, the situation is also difficult. 

In coordination with the Egyptian authorities, IOM is also providing the migrants with humanitarian assistance including blankets, food and water.

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