No massive evacuation now: minister

February 28, 2011

Expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain said on Sunday that the situation in Libya at the moment did not call for a massive evacuation of Bangladesh nationals trapped in the trouble-torn north African country.
The government has, however, made all preparations for evacuation of Bangladeshis   from Libya by air and ships in case an extreme situation arises, he added.
‘We have preparations for evacuation although at the moment we are trying to relocate our citizens from the risky areas in Libya. If needed, we will evacuate them by air and ships,’ Mosharraf Hossain told reporters at the secretariat after an inter-ministerial meeting.
He said that the Bangla-desh navy had a unit in Lebanon and a ship was kept ready there for operation any time.
‘The government is very much alert about the Libyan situation…The shipping and the civil aviation ministries have also been asked to remain prepared for a possible evacuation.’
The minister said a total of 804 Bangladeshis had safely reached Crete Island of Greece.
Senior officials from the ministries of foreign affairs, home affairs, shipping and civil aviation and also from the armed forces division, including foreign secretary and the chief of navy, were present at the meeting on the situation of Bangladesh nationals in Libya, among others.
The minister called upon Bangladeshis trapped by the unrest in the North African country not to be panicked.
There were no confirmed reports of casualties among the foreign nationals, including Bangladeshis trapped in Libya so far, Mosharraf said.
He said around 60,000 Bangladeshis were at present staying in Libya. ‘Many of our people have already taken shelter in various camps in Tripoli where 15,000 to 20,000 Bangladeshis are living.’
When asked why the government preferred to wait until the situation turns worse in Libya, the minister said that the present situation did not call for a mass evacuation.
The government on Saturday said about 2,000 Bangladeshis had reached Egypt, Tunisia and Greece from Libya by road and ship. 
Bangladesh has requested international communities, including Egypt, Tunisia and Libyan authorities, employers of Bangladesh nationals in Libya, the UN International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to ferry them to safer places by immediately available air, ship and road transports.
The Bangladesh mission in Libya has been asked to provide travel documents, including passports, free of cost for their hassle-free travel.
Foreign minister Dipu Moni is expected to meet the chiefs of ICRC and IOM in Geneva today.
Families of the Bangla-deshi nationals trapped in Libya, meanwhile, are becoming increasingly worried about the conditions of their near and dear ones.


Courtesy of New Age

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