Tripoli — SOME 130 migrants and refugees have been evacuated from Libya where they had been detained for months under dire conditions. The evacuations, the first this year, bring to an end the victims' suffering after failed attempts to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea.
They have been evacuated to Niger. The evacuation brings the total number of people rescued from Libya by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to 3 016 since December 2017.
"Those evacuated this week exemplify once again the urgency of ending detention of refugees and migrants in Libya. Until that happens, evacuations will remain quite literally a life-line," said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR special envoy for the Central Mediterranean.
Plans to evacuate thousands of refugees and migrants trapped in Libya have received a major boost after UNHCR received a total of 39 698 places against an appeal for 40 000 resettlement places.
Despite a raging civil war, Libya remains the main gateway for African migrants desperate to leave for Europe. They enter through the Mediterranean Sea, undeterred by drownings in the world's deadliest sea crossing.
An estimated 2 275 died or went missing crossing the route in 2018. In total, 139 300 refugees and migrants arrived in Europe.