131 refugees evacuated out of Libya to Niger, amidst ongoing conflict in Tripoli

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Canada, Eritrea, Italy, Libya, Niger, Somalia, Sudan, World

The evacuees were from Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan, and included 65 children. Some of the group were previously held in detention centres for more than a year.
A group of 131 refugees were evacuated last night out of Libya to the Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) in Niger, run by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

The evacuees were from Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan, and included 65 children under the age of eighteen. Some of the group were previously held in detention centres for more than a year.

“We cannot underestimate just how important these life-saving evacuations are,” said Jean-Paul Cavalieri, UNHCR Chief of Mission for Libya. “On World Refugee Day, for the first time in a long time, these refugees will be able to sleep at night knowing they and their families are out of harm’s way. But more needs to be done. States urgently need to come forward to help us evacuate other vulnerable refugees out of Libya.”

Prior to the evacuation, the group were being hosted in UNHCR’s Gathering and Departure Facility in Tripoli (GDF), after UNHCR secured their release from different detention centres across the country. UNHCR is grateful for the support of the Libyan Ministry of Interior and our partner, LibAid, for their support with securing their release and transfer out of the detention centres.

At the GDF, UNHCR provided them with food, shelter, medical assistance including psycho-social support, as well as clothes and hygiene kits.

They will now receive humanitarian assistance at the ETM while further options for them, such as resettlement, are pursued.

With this evacuation, UNHCR has assisted 1,297 vulnerable refugees out of Libya in 2019, including 711 to Niger, 295 to Italy, and 291 who have been resettled to Europe and Canada.

However, the rising numbers of people being brought to detention centres after being rescued and intercepted on the Central Mediterranean means many more places are urgently needed.

With the conflict in Tripoli showing no sign of diminishing, more than 3,800 refugees and migrants held in detention centres remain at risk of being caught up in the clashes.

UNHCR reiterates its call to the Libyan authorities to release all refugees and asylum-seekers and close the detention centres.

Mozambique update from HLA members

We have been coordinating responses from various HLA members on the current emergency situation in Mozambique following Cyclin Idai.

Club of Mozambique - emergency update

Club of Mozambique, the online gateway to Mozambique, reported that on 18 March the first international airlift arrived in Beira, Mozambique from UNHRD in Dubai. WFP are handling the distribution of supplies. For more information, read here.

Aero Africa - capacity

Reporting on 21 March, Jamie AndersonDirector -  African Solutions, said: "Remarkably I have not seen any humanitarian aid requests freely on the market for air cargo into Mozambique as of yet. It appears that the international call to help has yet to gather pace. I spoke to a few forwarders who handle NGO’s yesterday and they said the same. There are relief convoys en route ex South Africa. Day by day the world is starting to see the big picture therefore I expect a lot more activity in the coming days."

In terms of carrier availability, he added: "We would welcome any enquiries as we are very in touch with aircraft availability along the entire eastern coastline of Africa. Astral Aviation has the 727F based in NBO. There are also ample AN26F and also a C310 in MGQ that could also be called into play, as the operators do have spare hours".

Volga-Dnepr - capacity

Reporting on 21 March, Stuart Smith, Director Global Humanitarian, said of Volga-Dnepr's capacity: "1 x VDA IL76 is now ready in Maputo and will operate flights in coming days for BEW/Beira International Airport. We may consider ops also to Chimoio/VPY inside Mozambique. We may also look to offer B737F of Atran Cargo (Volga-Dnepr Group) ex EU and UAE origins, in case of smaller loads requirement. BEW, as we understand it, is not able to download larger freighters due lack of MDL but smaller freighters (forklift/low loader etc) as yes OR ramp".

Sheltereach.org - shelter

John Vasila of Sheltereach said: “Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Minangagwa, of town Chmanimani Government wants to ensure that houses are built back with stronger materials. Sheltereach designs can be summed up with the word Simple. Simple for the end users, simple in terms of logistics and simple in procurement.

This leads to safe, affordable housing with access to services. We can also help local people to understand the building principles and materials used in our shelter/housing systems. We can partner with Government and NGOs to ensure appropriate disaster relief and reconstruction methods are used, increasing the strength by up to 30 times of  the original structure, usually without increasing the minimal budget cost".

See attached for typical shelter options and a diagram of a Disaster Cycle, in terms of shelter.