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Libya: ICRC ship evacuates over 2,000 foreign workers trapped in Misrata

28-04-2011 News Footage Ref. V F CR-F-01091-A

Today the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) evacuated more than 600 civilians from the city in western Libya. This was the fourth rotation of an ICRC-chartered boat to evacuate mainly foreign nationals stranded in dire conditions. In total the ICRC evacuated more than 2300 civilians mainly from Niger, Chad, Mali, Ghana, Sudan, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Tunisia, and Morocco, in addition to Libyan nationals.

The third ship chartered by ICRC left Misrata on Saturday (as shown in video) evacuated around 600  stranded foreigners, more than half of them from Niger.

The ICRC first arrived in Misrata on 8 April to find more than 6500 stranded foreign nationals in the port area. Living in very poor conditions, exposed to danger owing to the fighting in the city, with inappropriate water to drink and no access to medical care, what these people wanted above all was to leave the city.

Deeply concerned by this situation, the ICRC decided to carry out evacuation operations for the stranded foreign nationals, taking them to Egypt via Tobruk or Benghazi in eastern Libya. From Egypt, the International Organization of Migration (IOM) would transfer them to their respective countries.

The evacuation operations were particularly difficult because of the security conditions and the urgent need to get people out of Misrata quickly. Day by day, the number of people coming to the port trying to leave the city was growing. Explaining to the people that they could not all board the ship was no easy task.

In addition, the trip was difficult for the exhausted civilians who were sea-sick, worried and scared but also relieved and grateful to escape the fighting in Misrata. " We had to flee three times from house to house. …The Libyan people are very good people and they are very generous…But the bombing started to be more vigorous than before, so we have to go out of Libya." said an Iraqi  evacuee who has lived in Libya for 13 years.


Date & Location: Misrata 23 Avril 2011 / Benghazi 24 Avril 2011
Production: Dibeh Fakhr, Didier Revol
Camera: Tareq Daoud
Sound: English/French/Arabic
Rights: ICRC Access All
Duration: 6' 28"

00:00:00 View of  shelters  for stranded foreigners  in the vicinity of Misrata port (travelling from a car)

00:08:05 An African runs to the buses used by the Libyan Red Crescent for evacuation by ICRC  ship.

00:16:23 Hundreds of  stranded foreigners  line up in front of the buses

00:22:03 A lorry full of sub Saharans  heads towards the port of Misrata

00:31:21 The lorry reaches a crowd of people  from Sub-Saharan Africa who arrived earlier at the dock

00:35:18 The evacuees line up along the dock in order to get to the ferry (travelling from a car)

00:53:17  Evacuees leave the lorry and queue  

01:01:11 Wide view of the dock with long lines of evacuees and a large crane in the background

01:05:11 ITW Iraqi doctor evacuated with her four children (in English)

I am an Iraqi living in Misrata for the past thirteen years.
It was miserable, really, because we have to flee three times from house to house. We go to live at the house of a Libyan people. The Libyan people are very good people and they are very generous, so we lived there for about a month. But the bombing started to be more vigorous than before, so we have to go out of Libya. And whenever the circumstances change, we will come back.

01:35:05 Families wait for their turn to be identified and registered by an ICRC team prior to embarkation.

01:42:11 Wide view of the crowd of evacuees waiting to board the ferry

01:46:02 Ferry crew fix an ICRC flag following the instructions of a steward.

01:58:23 A little girl stares at the flag (close-up)

02:03:06 Three evacuees from Ghana wait in  line

02:08:14  ITW of an evacuee from Ghana (In English)

I am from Ghana. The last time I was in Misrata, I found my life difficult. I can’t go out to buy anything, to talk to my friend. They cut the network, you can’t call anybody from outside the country or inside the country. Somebody told us “ you are going to sea port “. We thank Red Cross to help us to go to our homeland.

02:37:22 Javier Francisco Cepero Garcia (ICRC)  registers an evacuee  from Niger (in French)

02:51:19 Close-up of several evacuees being registered.

03:13:01 Refugees go through security checks before they can get aboard with their belongings

03:21:12 The Iraqi doctor interviewed earlier gets aboard with her four children

03:35:11 The same Iraqi family bring their belongings to the storage deck

03:39:08 The younger girl from the Iraqi family drags two bottles of water; she is then helped by a Libyan Red Crescent volunteer (handheld travelling).

01:03:44:03 Other evacuees take  luggage to the storage deck.

03:47:22 Close-up of a passenger receiving food and drink.

03:51:08 More passengers receive water and chips.

03:54:03 ITW Javier Francisco Cepero Garcia (English):

These people are coming from all parts of Libya. They were working and they were spread in all parts of Libya, and they are basically subsaharan people.
There have been several countries who have sent boats to Misrata to evacuate people. But they have evacuated only their nationals : basically Bangladesh [people], Koreans, Chinese, Egyptians, but Subsaharan people,  nobody goes  to look for them. And these are the most vulnerable people nowadays.

04:26:18 Non medical cases, non priority families (Libyans) eager to flee Misrata try to get their way aboard by force; the crew hastily stows the gang plank  to prevent a massive intrusion.

04:43:15 A Maltese Red Cross Volunteer looks at the pier as the ferry leaves Misrata

04:47:24 Seated passengers receive basic safety instructions in English (translations in Arabic and French were also used)

05:03:17 The back of ferry at sunset

05:07:06  Most passengers lie down to minimize  sea sickness

05:10:16  A passenger vomits in a bag (camera shot over shoulder).

05:13:14 In the evening a Maltese Red Cross Volunteer announces a chocolate and soda distribution for the passengers (close-up)

05:16:13  Stewards distribute chocolate and sodas among all passengers

05:24:14  The following morning, the ferry is docked at Benghazi. The first passengers disembark (wide view).

05:29:04  Women and children leave the boat down  the gangway

05:35:17  A crowd forms in front of the ferry docked at Benghazi port (several wide views)

05:43:17  Several ambulances arrive at the site

05:47:07 A woman and her toddler are evacuated by ambulance

05:50:23  Evacuees collect their luggage

06:05:22  The crowd of evacuees waits their turn to get on one of the buses that will transport them to the Egyptian border

06:13:06   A bus full of passengers leaves the port

06:17:14  The ambulances also leave the port with ill passengers (wide view).

ENDS   06:28:04


For further information, please contact:
Steven Anderson, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 536 92 50
Dibeh Fakhr, ICRC Benghazi, tel: + 870 7723 90 124

  • Copyright: ICRC Access All
  • Release year: 2011
  • Production locations: Libya
  • Running time: 6'28 min
  • Languages available: English, French, Arabic
  • Reference: V F CR-F-01091-A

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