Govt urges IOM for more flights
Two Bangladeshis died on Friday of heart attack in Tunisia and Egypt where they had taken shelter from the violence in Libya.
Of the two, Selim Chowdhury of Noakhali sadar breathed his last in Tunisia and Jahangir Afrad of Narsingdi in Egypt, Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes said briefing journalists yesterday afternoon.
Quayes, however, stressed that neither of the two had fallen prey to violence, and the government has initiated the process to bring their bodies through the Bangladesh missions in Cairo and Tripoli.
The government meantime has requested the International Organisation for Migration to charter more flights and increase their frequencies for speedy repatriation of expatriate Bangladeshis as the number of workers escaping from Libya to neighbouring Tunisia, Egypt and Greece has risen to 26,341, said the foreign secretary.
The number of Bangladeshis who crossed the border to Tunisia rose to 15,000 yesterday since the Tunisian government opened its border for the refugees on Thursday.
Besides, the government has sought overflight clearance from India so that the IOM charter flights can travel through Indian sky. There are positive responses both from IOM and India.
Giving a breakup of 26,341 Bangladeshis who have left Libya, Quayes said so far 15,000 Bangladeshis have entered Tunisia, while Korean Daewoo company shifted 2,014 to the Crete and 2,098 to the Hania islands of Greece.
Roughly, over 30,000 Bangladeshis are still in different cities of Libya. Nine Bangladeshi female nurses are still staying at a military hospital in Tripoli.
The foreign secretary said Bangladeshi expats are returning in three ways — under the arrangement of IOM and the Bangladesh government, through the recruitment authorities concerned, and by privately managed ways.
He said 616 people, including 168 from Egypt and 448 from the Crete Island, returned home yesterday. With yesterday’s returnees, as many as 3,491 Bangladeshis have returned home from Libya.
Of them, 2,222 have returned with the help of their respective employers or on their own, while 1,269 returned through the IOM.
Quayes also further informed that six Bangladeshis were missing from temporary shelter in Greece, which became a serious concern for both Bangladesh and Greece.
“We have given undertakings to the governments of Greece and Tunisia that the stranded Bangladeshi workers will be repatriated as early as possible.
“It would be difficult for other Bangladeshis to get shelter in those countries if any worker goes missing,” he said. In this context, he said the government has increased personnel in its missions in Cairo and Greece to coordinate the repatriation process.
Meanwhile, a truck laden with water, juice and dry food was looted by unruly people on its way to the Egyptian border, Quayes said. As a result, 10 percent Bangladeshis who are on the Egyptian border did not get food on Friday.
He said Bangladesh has requested the Indian government to accommodate 250 Bangladeshis in an Indian ship, which will evacuate its citizens to Malta. Besides, a group of 70 Bangladeshis reached Kathmandu yesterday with a Nepalese group from Libya.
The Bangladesh mission in Kathmandu has arranged a bus for their repatriation to Bangladesh.
Courtesy of The Daily Star