Ghanaian migrants formed the majority of many migrants rescued by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in tension-zone Misrata in the early hours of Monday, April 18, according to an IOM statement.
It said the IOM rescue mission evacuated closely 1,000 foreign workers and wounded Libyans from Misrata with a chartered boat.
According to the IOM report, 650 of the rescued migrants were Ghanaians.
“The Ionian Spirit teamed out of Misrata carrying 971 people, most of them weak and dehydrated migrants mainly from Ghana, the Philippines and Ukraine, heading for the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya,” according to a Reuters report.
IOM, said there are 100 Libyans among those rescued, 23 of whom are war-wounded, including a child shot in the face and an amputee.
The Voice of America (VOA) news quoted the IOM spokeswoman, Jemini Pandya as saying “the situation is deteriorating hour by hour, with shelling going on almost continuously”.
She said the rescue mission was carried out under extremely risky circumstances.
Pandya, as reported by VOA, said it is becoming increasingly difficult to carry out further rescue missions.
She said IOM is very worried about the 4,000 migrants who are stuck at Misrata’s port, which she said time was running out for them.
Jeremy Haslam, who led the IOM rescue operations on the boat, said: “We wanted to be able to take more people out but it was not possible.”
The first evacuation mission Friday, April 15 had the IOM-chartered boat successfully rescued nearly 1,200 migrants from Misrata to Benghazi from where virtually all of them were later taken by road to Salum for further assistance, according to the IOM.
Misrata, the stronghold of the rebels, has been under siege by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi for almost two months.
The popular political revolt in the oil-rich state compelled the government of Ghana to constitute the Evaluation Liaison Post at Salum, a border post on the Egypt-Libya border, to save Ghanaians at risk. Their work has, however, been suspended upon the no-fly zone imposed on Libya by the UN and the intensity of the crisis.
So far 16,822 Ghanaians are said to have been rescued in excess of the anticipated 10,000 by the government.
The first batch of 55 Ghanaians arrived in Accra on Saturday, February 26, 2011.
Source: Stephen Yeboah (firstname.lastname@example.org)