Saturday, April 30, 2011

IOM to evacuate stranded migrants to Bangladesh

SALEEM SAMAD

THE STRANDED migrants awaiting evacuation at Egyptian border will be flown into Bangladesh by International Organization for Migration (IOM) next week.

IOM in response to the urgent request of the Bangladesh, the Libya evacuation coordination body of IOM has decided to arrange more chartered flights to bring back Bangladeshis from Al Saloum at the Egyptian border,

IOM office Bangladesh in a press release on Thursday said, IOM will charter five additional flights. It is expected 930 migrant workers are planned for evacuation. Nevertheless, the return of the rest 300 Bangladeshis is also in the pipeline.

Flight details are yet to be confirmed, but it is expected to commence from next weekend, 30 April, says Asif Munier, spokesperson of IOM in Bangladesh.

Nearly 60,000 Bangladeshi migrant workers were employed before the crackdown of pro-democracy activists in Libya. Until now 29,859 Bangladeshi who fled troubled Libya were evacuated and safely returned home.

IOM confirmed that it will monitor and support return of more Bangladeshis who are trekking from Libya to neighboring Tunisia or Egypt.

Ms Rabab Fatima, regional representative of IOM Bangladesh said the fund of US $160 million was request for the second phase of evacuation from troubled Libya. However, only $68 million was available. [ENDS]

Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow is an award winning investigative journalist based in Bangladesh. He specializes in Jihad, forced migration, good governance and politics. He has recently returned from exile after living in Canada for six years. He could be reached at saleemsamad@hotmail.com