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Niger/Libya: over 1,300 Nigeriens evacuated from Misrata

03-05-2011 News Release 11/103

Niamey (ICRC) – Between 18 and 26 April, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) conducted an emergency evacuation of 1,381 Niger nationals from the conflict-ravaged western Libyan city of Misrata. The evacuees, all civilians, were taken by ship to Tobruk and Benghazi, in eastern Libya.

Hundreds more civilians, including other nationals of sub-Saharan African States, were also escorted out of the country. Four round trips were required to evacuate over 2,300 people in all.

"For several weeks, these people had been living in terrible conditions, without shelter or sanitary facilities worthy of the name," said Javier Cepero García, the ICRC delegate in charge of the evacuation. "They were blocked in the city. They had to put up with the lack of hygiene and the danger posed by the fighting in the city." When they arrived in Tobruk and Benghazi, the evacuees were placed in the care of the International Organization for Migration, which will organize the transfer via Egypt to Niger for those who wish to return there.

The ICRC offered the evacuees from Niger and other countries the opportunity to contact their families by satellite telephone.

Working in cooperation with the Red Cross Society of Niger, the ICRC opened a temporary reception and transit centre at the beginning of April in the northern Niger city of Agadez for migrants from Libya and Algeria, who are in desperate straits.

The ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent organization. It is one of only a small number of international organizations carrying out humanitarian activities both in Libya and in the northern part of Niger.

For further information, please contact:
Germain Mwehu, ICRC Niamey, tel: +227 97 45 43 82