Wednesday, February 21, 2024

No food, water for Bangladeshis stranded on Libyan borders

527 expected to return today
Several thousand Bangladesh nationals stranded on the borders of trouble-torn Libya and awaiting evacuation, ‘are exhausted and in urgent need of food, water and shelter’, according to the UN International Organization for Migration.
At least 527 Bangladesh nationals, who have fled from violence in Libya, are scheduled to arrive in Dhaka in five commercial and chartered flights this (Wednesday) morning, the foreign ministry and the IOM Dhaka office said.
‘With thousands of migrants [including Bangladesh nationals] still awaiting authorisation to cross into Tunisia, there is an urgent need to decongest the border area which lacks adequate facilities to host large numbers of people,’ Marc Petzoldt, IOM’s chief of mission in Tunisia,’ said Tuesday.
Some 3,000 Bangladesh nationals remain stranded on Libya’s border with Tunisia.
Some 3,500 Bangladeshis have also remained stranded on Libya’s borders with Egypt and Niger, according to the foreign ministry in Dhaka. 
They are waiting for clearance from the Egyptian, Tunisian and Niger authorities for crossing the borders. The authorities concerned were taking time as most of them did not have travel documents.
Bangladesh nationals are facing trouble in crossing into Tunisia as there ‘is no Bangladesh government representative there’, according to an official of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Bangladesh ambassador to Tripoli ABM Nuruzzaman, however, said a Bangladesh diplomat was on the way to Tunisia and he would reach there by Wednesday. ‘The situation would start to improve once the official arrives,’ he hoped. 
Foreign ministry officials in Egypt, however, claimed that they were issuing new travel documents and trying to expedite Bangladesh nationals’ entry into Egypt.
At least 36 Bangladeshis are scheduled to arrive at 4:50am today by Gulf Air.
Another group of 348 Bangladeshis will be arriving by two chartered flights at about 10:00am.
The IOM, which was coordinating their travel in collaboration with the respective governments, said additional returns were expected in the coming days.
Three IOM chartered flights with 750 Bangladeshi migrants will also depart within the next 24 hours for Dhaka, according to IOM office in Tunis.
Another 143 Bangladesh citizens who fled violence in Libya and were now staying on the Island of Crete of Greece would also be ferried home by their employers by two Emirates flights, according to foreign ministry.
In view of the growing number of people arriving at temporary border shelters, IOM has already begun negotiations and logistic preparations to evacuate Bangladeshis for onward journey – either by air or sea.
‘The IOM is making all-out efforts to support foreign nationals, including Bangladeshis, caught up in this humanitarian crisis on the Libyan borders,’ said Rabab Fatima, regional representative of IOM in Dhaka.
The weather is reportedly cold and windy, particularly along the Egypt-Libya border areas, where the largest number of Bangladeshis has arrived.
Arrivals from Libya, including Bangladeshis, are registered, provided emergency medical treatment, blankets, food and water by the IOM. Once registered, the IOM processes third country nationals for their onward journey in coordination with respective governments, including the government of Bangladesh.
About 60,000 Bangladesh nationals were working in Libya.
Bangladeshis trapped in different Libyan cities, including Tripoli, were worried about their safety and security.
‘Most of the people do not know where they would go and what they would eat in the coming days,’ said Mohammad Sadeque, a Bangladeshi chartered accountant who returned home from Tripoli on Tuesday.
Situation turns dangerous after dusk everyday when bands of anti-government protesters roam the streets, he said.
Asked whether they could contact the Bangladesh embassy there, he said the Libyan government had imposed a control on the mobile network.
Foreign minister Dipu Moni held separate meetings with the IOM director general, William Lacy Swing and ICRC president Yves Daccord in Geneva on Tuesday, according to a foreign ministry release.
She requested them to extend all-out support to ensure safety and security of the Bangladesh nationals stranded in Libya.
About 126 Bangladesh nationals returned home from Libya via Istanbul on Monday and Tuesday.
At least 8,867 Bangladesh nationals were in the process of returning home, the foreign secretary, Mohamed Mijarul Quayes, said on Monday.
The government has opened a control room at the Bangladesh embassy in Tripoli to look after its nationals facing difficulties there, according to the expatriate welfare ministry.
The Bangladesh trapped by unrest in Libya have been requested to contact the embassy on telephone numbers 00218-214911198, 00218-214911199, 00218-928123915, 00218-913752500, 00218-214893764, 00218-926791195, 00218-913776914 and 00218-918632401.


Courtesy of New Age

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