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Expat community in Libya still shrinking

As clashes continue and Benghazi and Tripoli,  foreigners are continuing to leave Libya.

Some 13,000 Egyptians have evacuated overland via Tunsia, where the Egyptian government has sent planes to return them to Egypt. It is has been reported that 700 more arrived in Tunisia today. At a rate of 4,000 per day, 50,000 are known to have crossed back into Egypt overland via the eastern border, while just today, 200 have arrived at the port in Alexandria by sea.

Though the 14,000 strong Filipino community that makes up 60 percent of Libya’s medical staff has been reluctant to follow its government’s pleas to quit, they are slowly making their way to Libya’s ports for departure by sea.

This week, up to 1,500 Filipinos are slated to leave on a ship headed toward Malta, where they will catch planes to the Philippines. Currently, 448 Filipinos are prepared to depart the Benghazi port on Wednesday, while nearly 600 are waiting to leave Misrata on Thursday.

Just over 400 Turkish workers with the construction company Gama working of the new Gulf  power station in Sirte were evacuated by air after retired General Khalifa Hafter’s June demand that all Turks and Qataris leave “or be buried here”. Gama later said that its people were returning to the project. However three days later 1,300 other workers from the Korean companies Hyundai and Doosan were evacuated from the project. They left on flights from Misrata.

The Turkish government has since advised its 5,000 remaining citizens to evacuate the country overland to Tunisia.

Of the nearly 1,000 Indians working in Libya’s hospitals and clinics, about 118 have signed up to leave via bus to Tunisia. The Indian government said last week that it was preparing to evacuate those wanting to leave Benghazi by ship to Malta, where they would be flown back to India.

The Pakistan Foreign Office announced last week that it would assist its nearly 6,000 citizens in obtaining Tunisian visas, making it possible for them to evacuate by land to Tunisia where they could board flights back to Pakistan.

The Chinese have been leaving Libya by the hundreds. According to China’s ambassador to Libya Li Zhiguo, some 878 Chinese nationals have evacuated Libya since 13 July, 75 percent of the 1,200 workers in the country.

In the past month, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, the USA, Turkey, Jordan, the Philippines, Brazil, Greece, India, Cyprus and China have told their citizens to leave.

Most of the Western nations, including Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, the USA, Greece and Austria, kept their embassies open until the fuel shortage and power cuts forced them to relocate generally to Tunisia. The majority of Arab countries closed their embassies after the May attack on Congress.

The Turkish and Japanese embassies recently shut down and the United Nations withdrew its staff after the Tripoli airport assault. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC ) suspended its operations shortly after the murder of one of its staff members in June.

The Maltese and Italians have said that their embassies are still functioning in Tripoli and that they will do everything they can to stay open.

Libya Herald
This article was originally published here.



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