Second IOM-Chartered Boat To Head for Misrata to Rescue Stranded Migrants

News and Press Release
Originally published

A second IOM-chartered boat carrying several hundred tons of humanitarian aid is to leave for the besieged Libyan port city of Misrata today, 16 April. The boat will carry out another vital operation to rescue stranded migrants camping out around the port and in a desperate state.

The operation, funded by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Office (ECHO), aims to rescue as many migrants as possible from the more than 7,000 migrants still waiting for help at the port.

Nearly 1,200 migrants of various nationalities were rescued by IOM on Friday, including women, children and the elderly. The migrants were very weak and dehydrated with many needing medical attention on the journey to Benghazi. Some had to be stretchered off the boat when it docked on Friday night.

IOM staff on the boat say that some of the migrants would not have survived another day due to dehydration and weakness.

"Every day matters," says Jeremy Haslam, IOM operations leader on the boat. "We need to get back to Misrata as fast as we can."

The rescued migrants were among the 8,300 migrants identified by IOM who have been camping out around the port of Misrata without adequate shelter, clean water or food and no medical care.

Many of the migrants have been awaiting rescue from Misrata at the port since the early days of the Libyan crisis and their condition is particularly worrying.

Their plight has been of major concern to IOM which had been trying to evacuate them for several weeks, hampered by lack of funds and security issues.

As on the first operation, the IOM-chartered Ionian Spirit leaving later Saturday, is carrying another load of humanitarian assistance.

Among the more than 400 tons of aid are medical, food and non-food supplies as well as a few ambulances donated by the U.A.E Red Crescent Society. The rest of the assistance has been donated for Misrata by Qatar, Libyan civil society organizations and the International Medical Corps (IMC).

Meanwhile, about 800 of the nearly 1,200 migrants who were helped on Friday and who had stayed overnight at a Libyan Red Crescent camp in Benghazi, are today being taken by IOM by road to Salum on the Egyptian border with Libya.

The remaining migrants fit enough to make the road journey to Egypt will be assisted by IOM on Sunday.

IOM staff report that as the migrants were boarding the buses to the border, several hundred Chadians, mostly women and small children, arrived at the camp with their belongings, requiring help to leave Libya and return home. The group had been living in the Benghazi area.

For further information, please contact Jemini Pandya IOM Geneva, Tel: + 41 22 717 9486/+ 41 79 217 3374, Email: