Chris wrote about Misrata’s sea based life-line the other day. The rebel-held Libyan city is under siege, with humanitarian conditions there taking a notably worse turn over the past several days.
Stuck in the city are about 6,000 migrant workers from Egypt, Bangladesh, Niger, Nigeria, Ghana Iraq and Tunisia. The International Organization for Migration has dispatched a ship from Benghazi to Misrata to rescue the migrants. But…here’s the rub: the ship can only take 800 people at a time, and the IOM only has enough money to make two trips.
The chartered vessel, which departed from the rebel-held eastern city of Benghazi on Wednesday, was due to reach Misrata later on Thursday. IOM officials on board would then begin the difficult task of choosing whom to evacuate first, it said.
“This operation is critical for saving lives of migrants because the situation is so bad. We can’t take everyone at the same time,” IOM spokeswoman Jemini Pandya told Reuters.
An IOM staff member on the board, who was not being named, was quoted as saying: “It is going to be heartbreaking not being able to take everyone at once.”
“We should not be put in a position of deciding who we save when so many people are in an appalling situation everywhere,” Fernando Calado, IOM’s head of emergencies and post crisis division, said.
The IOM is not that well known of an international organization. It’s basic mission is to support the rights and welfare of migrants–which is a group needing special support and care because they are particularly vulnerable. It is just awful that the IOM will essentially have to leave over 4,000 people stranded in a war zone simply because no donor country is willing to pony up the funds to rescue these people.