Today the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) evacuated more than 600 civilians from the city in western Libya. This was the fourth rotation of an ICRC-chartered boat to evacuate mainly foreign nationals stranded in dire conditions. In total the ICRC evacuated more than 2300 civilians mainly from Niger, Chad, Mali, Ghana, Sudan, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Tunisia, and Morocco, in addition to Libyan nationals.
The ICRC first arrived in Misrata on 8 April to find more than 6500 stranded foreign nationals in the port area. Living in very poor conditions, exposed to danger owing to the fighting in the city, with inappropriate water to drink and no access to medical care, what these people wanted above all was to leave the city.
Deeply concerned by this situation, the ICRC decided to carry out evacuation operations for the stranded foreign nationals, taking them to Egypt via Tobruk or Benghazi in eastern Libya. From Egypt, the International Organization of Migration (IOM) would transfer them to their respective countries.
The evacuation operations were particularly difficult because of the security conditions and the urgent need to get people out of Misrata quickly. Day by day, the number of people coming to the port trying to leave the city was growing. Explaining to the people that they could not all board the ship was no easy task.
In addition, the trip was difficult for the exhausted civilians who were sea-sick, worried and scared but also relieved and grateful to escape the fighting in Misrata. " We had to flee three times from house to house. ...The Libyan people are very good people and they are very generous...But the bombing started to be more vigorous than before, so we have to go out of Libya." said an Iraqi evacuee who has lived in Libya for 13 years.