Panafrican News Agency

HCR evacuates 98 refugees from Libya to Italy

Tripoli, Libya (PANA) – A group of 98 vulnerable refugees was evacuated from Libya to Italy on Thursday, the UN High Commission for Refugees (HCR) said on Friday, reassuring that this is about the third direct humanitarian evacuation to that country this year.  

"As Libya continues suffering from the conflict, those evacuations are relief for the most vulnerable refugees living in Libyan detention centers and city areas, who are in emergency needs for security and protection," said HCR in a statement issued on Friday.

The persons evacuated are Eritreans, Somalis and Sudanese, including 52 non-accompanied children, added the statement.

The statement said that the youngest of them is Youssef, a seven-month-old Somali baby, born in detention and traveling with his parents, adding that a large number of those refugees were detained in Libya for months.

"Today, we place 98 persons in security but it is just a small number compared to the thousands people who need assistance. There are still 3,600 refugees in detention centers. We must immediately find solutions for them, as well as the thousands more vulnerable refugees living in city areas", said Jean-Paul Cavalieri, HCR mission chief for Libya.

HCR is grateful to the cooperation with the Libyan Interior ministry and the support from our partner LibAid, who helped them obtain their release and transfer out of the detention centers.

"Today’s evacuation is an example of solidarity and we thanked the Italian authorities for making this possible. We hope other countries will follow this example and organize similar and vital humanitarian evacuations", said Roland Schilling, HCR regional representative for Southern Europe.

Before the evacuation, refugees were accommodated in the gathering and departure installation (GDF) in Tripoli, once HCR had obtained their transfer. At GDF, they received food, shelter, medical assistance, including psychological support, as well as clothing and hygiene kits.

Therefore, with such evacuation, HCR helped 1,474 vulnerable refugees leave Libya in 2019, including 710 in Niger, 393 in Italy and 371 who were reinstalled in other European countries and Canada.

-0- PANA BY/BEH/MSA/VAO 13Sept2019