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Thousands stranded in Tripoli, says IOM

2011-09-01 13:14

Geneva - Thousands of migrants stranded in Tripoli are unable to be evacuated because they cannot safely reach the port or register with their embassies, the International Organisation for Migration said on Thursday.

"There are many thousands who want to leave, but the exact figure is not clear because they cannot get to the port and there are no embassies they can register with," said IOM spokesperson Jemini Pandya.

Pandya said "many nationalities" were represented in the migrant community, but that Sub-Saharans represented the most vulnerable group, many of whom do not have diplomatic representation in the country.

"Although migrants are scattered around the city, with Sub-Saharan African predominantly living on the outskirts of Tripoli, the (IOM) is aware of groups of migrants camped out along a stretch of the coast and on farms inland and in need of help," the IOM statement said.

"In addition to not having food, water, shelter and medical care, the migrants have reportedly expressed significant fear of harassment and targeting," it added.

Pandya said that it was difficult to assess the total number of migrants in the country's capital, which is still reeling from the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi.

She said that unconfirmed reports put the number of migrants in Tripoli at around one million, a quarter of them Egyptian.

She added that a third IOM evacuation boat left Tripoli on Wednesday, stopped in Misrata before the end of the day, and is expected to land in Benghazi on Thursday with 451 migrants and vulnerable Libyans.

"Everybody who has been offered a safe passage [to the port] has been evacuated," she added.