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UN claims 1 million will need aid in Libya

News18test sharma |

Updated: March 8, 2011, 6:59 AM IST
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UN claims 1 million will need aid in Libya
Some 22,500 migrant workers, mainly Bangladeshis, still need to be evacuated home.

Geneva: Up to 1 million foreign workers and others trapped in Libya are expected to need emergency aid because of fighting in the North African nation, aid officials said as they sought $160 million to deal with the crisis.

UN officials say that amount is only for the next three months and they expect the crisis to go on longer than that.

The UN is also effectively frozen out of sections controlled by leader Moammar Gaddafi's forces and is only seeking humanitarian aid for opposition-controlled areas.

"This appeal is based on a planning scenario projecting up to 400,000 people leaving Libya including the 200,000 who have left to date and another 600,000 people inside Libya expected to need humanitarian aid," said Valerie Amos, the UN's humanitarian and emergency coordination chief.

The money is for camp management, food security, nutrition, health care, water, sanitation and hygiene.

Since February 20, about 213,000 foreign workers have fled to Libya's borders with Tunisia, Egypt, Niger and now Algeria an estimated 15 per cent of Libya's foreign population and hundreds of thousands more are expected to follow over the next three months, according to Amos and international migration officials.

Antonio Guterres, the UN high commissioner for refugees, says about 120,000 people have crossed the border into Tunisia from Libya since the crisis began. Most of the rest have gone over into Egypt, while a few thousand others fled into Niger and Algeria.

As part of the emergency appeal by 17 UN and other aid organisations, the International Organisation for Migration said Monday it is seeking at least $49.2 million to provide food, water, shelter and medical care for up to 65,000 migrant workers caught up in the crisis.

"This still only scratches the surface," the organisation's spokeswoman Jemini Pandya, who said there were about 1.5 million foreign migrant workers inside Libya before the fighting began.

There has been a steep drop-off in the number of migrant workers crossing over from Libya in recent days, due to a beefed-up presence by Gaddafi's forces along the way from Tripoli. But the officials say thousands of migrants are still arriving daily at Ras Adjir at the Tunisian border, and at Salum on the Egyptian border.

As of Monday, the migration organisation had evacuated 15,000 migrants by air and sea to Egypt, Bangladesh, Ghana, Mali and other countries. Several hundreds more were evacuated by road from Libya. Some 22,500 migrant workers, mainly Bangladeshis, still need to be evacuated home.

First Published: March 8, 2011, 6:59 AM IST
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