IOM is urgently appealing to all parties involved in the conflict in Libya to allow its chartered Red Star One boat to dock at Misrata port in order to rescue about 1,000 stranded migrants and many badly wounded civilians.
The IOM boat, which left Benghazi on 29 April, has been waiting off-shore to dock since 30th April. Shelling of the city's port area, together with the threat of mines laid in the approach to the port has prevented IOM from docking so far.
The situation has now become critical with reports that two severely wounded people in hospitals in Misrata have died while waiting to be evacuated.
Journalists in Misrata, also waiting to be evacuated, have told IOM that another 36 people need to be urgently taken out of the city with intensive care units now having run out of beds and supplies.
A medical source has reported that in one intensive care unit, two patients have no respirators and nurses spend their day making them breathe manually.
According to the Libyan Red Crescent, over 1,000 migrants from many countries including Niger, Ghana, Chad, Nigeria, Sudan, Mali, Egypt and Bangladesh are waiting at the port to be rescued. Among them are 71 women and children.
In addition, IOM has been made aware of 109 Filipinos in Misrata, including women and children who also need to be evacuated but the Organization has not been able to establish contact with the group.
"Every second now counts. We need to get this boat into Misrata port today because lives have been lost already while the boat has been forced to wait offshore and many more could be lost. IOM is appealing for its boat to be allowed to dock safely and for the Organization to carry out its humanitarian operation," says IOM's Director of Emergencies and Operations Mohammed Abdiker.
This is the 6th IOM mission to rescue stranded migrants and wounded civilians from Misrata. So far 5,124 migrants and wounded Libyans and their family members have been taken by IOM to Benghazi. The Organization has also delivered more than 1,800 tons of humanitarian aid to the city including food, non-food and medical supplies. The IOM-chartered Red Star One is carrying a further 180 tons of humanitarian supplies for delivery to Misrata.
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.
For further information, please contact Jean Philippe Chauzy, IOM Geneva, Tel: + 41 22 717 9361/+ 41 79 285 4366 Email: email@example.com or Jemini Pandya, Tel: + 41 22 717 9486/+ 41 79 217 3374 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Jumbe Omari Jumbe, Tel: + 41 22 717 9405/+41 79 812 7734 Email: email@example.com