Thursday, February 29, 2024

Miseries mount on borders

Thousands of Bangladeshi workers in the Egyptian and Tunisian border of the trouble-hit Libya are facing serious crisis with no food, no shelter, and no help.
Till yesterday 4:00pm, a total of 3,491 Bangladeshis returned to the country from Libya, while around 27,000 are yet to return home.
Workers returning from Libya yesterday said those who did not get support from their respective companies or the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) are facing real trouble in the borders.
Md Ferdous Alam of Gaibandha said he used to work for a Korean company in Libya. On February 27, he along with some others was taken to the Tunisian border in a truck.
“There is only sand and sand in the border and nothing to eat or drink. People stuck there are getting no help. Those who could save some money are able to cross the border. However, saving a Dinar was tough as the Libyans searched and looted whatever valuables they found,” said Ferdous, describing the situation at the border.
“We could come back to Bangladesh as our company helped us. However, I don’t know what will happen to those thousands of Bangladeshis in the border whose employers are taking no responsibility for them,” he said.
Some of the labours managed to fly back to the country at their own initiative, but their journey back to the country was very tough.
Md Lal Mia, a worker of Hyundai Amco Company in Benghazi, said he got no support from his company or the embassy. On February 16, some Libyans threw him out of their camp.
“Along with my brother-in-law, we hired a car to the Egyptian border and crossed it, where the Egyptian police arrested us,” he said.
“One of Egyptian police helped us to get an air ticket to Dubai. I went to Dubai on March 1 and, with the help of my cousin there, I managed to get an air ticket to Dhaka. After three days of staying at the Dubai airport with virtually no food, I came back to my country,” said Lal Mia, hailing from Bogra.
Likewise, six family members of Mirza Shaili Parveen took initiative to return home from Libyan capital Tripoli.
“We had the money to come back. However, those who have no money are facing real problems in returning home as there is no help from the embassy,” said Parveen.
Her brother Mirza Muniruzzaman, an engineer of the Korean company Hanil Engineering Construction, said to have managed to reach Dubai by giving some money to a Libyan. “From there, me, and five others of my family, managed to take a Bangladesh Biman flight to Dhaka,” said Muniruzzaman.
The embassies of India, Korea, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and the Philippines have helped their nationals in Libya but the Bangladeshi embassy did not help at all, he told The Daily Star.
IOM National Programme Officer Asif Munier said only basic amenities could be provided to the Bangladeshis waiting to return home from the Tunisian and Egyptian borders.
“Those who were staying at the border for three to four days are getting frustrated now,” he said.
“The IOM and the UNHCR have sought more logistical support from different countries, and large scale evacuation could be conducted once the logistics are available,” he said.

 

Courtesy of The Daily Star

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