Relaymedia

Migrant Workers Fleeing Libya are Calm but Tired, Says Caritas

( [email protected] ) Mar 05, 2011 07:26 AM EST
Around 6,000 migrant workers face a wait of around six days to be processed through the border. The workers are mostly men from Asia and Africa.
Workers from Bangladesh crowd in the arrival hall of the border post in Salloum as they wait permission to enter Egypt after fleeing Libya, Saturday, Feb 26, 2011. AP AP

Around 6,000 migrant workers face a wait of around six days to be processed through the border. The workers are mostly men from Asia and Africa.

With around 5,000 arriving daily, the need for better sanitation is becoming increasingly urgent.

Team member Jason Belanger, of Caritas member Catholic Relief Services, said: “The situation is calm. Some of the migrants are saying they have not received enough food and water. Mostly men, they are sleeping out in the open. Sanitation is a key concern with an acute lack of toilets.”

Caritas is handing out food, bottled water, hand sanitizers and blankets to keep the men warm when the temperatures drop at night.

Belanger said the team was looking at ways to improve the sanitation.

“We’re also looking at providing some counselling, although people are not traumatised. Mostly they’re tired and they just want to go home.”

More than 170,000 migrant workers have fled Libya as forces loyal to leader Moammar Gaddafi battle opponents to the regime.

Caritas said its members are offering support in the workers’ countries of origin to those who have returned home.