The IOM-chartered ship - the Red Star One- sailed out of the Eastern Libyan city of Benghazi yesterday evening and is due to arrive later his morning in the war-torn city of Misrata to evacuate up to a thousand stranded migrants and wounded civilians.
Prior to departure, the ship was loaded with 160 tons of food and medical supplies, including two new ambulances to help in the transportation of casualties to Misrata's Ras Touba hospital and from the hospital to the port area for medical evacuation.
A specialized medical team of eleven, including personnel form the International Medical Corps, is on board the Red Star One to take care of up to 25 war-wounded, including 4 patients requiring intensive care.
In the previous four evacuations from Misrata, IOM chartered vessels have evacuated 4,577 persons, the vast majority are stranded migrant workers from Niger, Bangladesh, Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt and others, but also 120 Libyan families in need of medical assistance.
The IOM chartered boats have also delivered more than 1,470 tons of urgently needed food, water, medical supplies, hygiene kits, non-food items and six ambulances, donated for the residents of Misrata by Libya's private sector, individuals, Libyan Appeal Team, UAE Red Crescent Society, the Government of Qatar, and local and international NGOS.
Complementing the efforts of the Libyan and Turkish Red Crescents and the International Committee of the Red Cross, IOM staff have provided daily meals to close to 12,000 meals to migrants in the transit centre in Benghazi.
From Benghazi, IOM provides onward land transportation to the Egyptian border at Sallum. Since 3 March IOM has assisted more than 7,600 migrants to reach Sallum and from there to continue their journey to their countries of origin.
IOM's humanitarian evacuation programme out of Misrata is funded by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civilian Protection Office (ECHO), Britain's Department for International Development (DFID), Germany, Ireland and Australia.
As of 24 April, more than 608,000 migrants from more than 27 countries had fled Libya and crossed into Tunisia, Egypt, Niger, Algeria, Chad, and Sudan; some of them put their lives in great danger to reach the shores of Italy and Malta.
In Libya, IOM continues to assist in the evacuation by road of thousands of stranded Sudanese, Egyptian and Nigerien migrants from the capital Tripoli to the Tunisian border.
With more than 12,000 Chadians having recently returned to Chad through the Libyan-Chadian border, IOM is focusing its activities on the border towns of Faya-Largeau and Kalait.
An IOM registration and transit centre with a capacity to accommodate some 750 persons was opened on 23 April in Faya-Largeau, where many are still waiting for onward transportation assistance.
The Organization is currently organizing 10 charter flights from Faya- Largeau to the capital N'Djamena to assist weak and vulnerable returnees who cannot be transported by road.
To date, Organization has provided onward assistance to more than 3,500 returnees to various destinations in Chad.
IOM has appealed for US$160 million dollars for its response to the Libyan crisis with much of the funding to provide evacuation assistance from both inside and outside Libya. To date, the Organization has received close to US$68 million, which have been spent on operations that have helped more than 117,000 migrants return to their home countries and evacuate many more from inside Libya to Egypt and Tunisia.
For more information, please contact Jean-Philippe Chauzy at IOM Geneva, Tel: + 41 79 285 43 66, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org