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The BBC reports on the 1.5 million plus contract migrant workers currently deployed in Libya and their government’s plans to evacuate them. 


There are thought to be 1.5 million Egyptians in Libya. About 5,000 Egyptians have returned home by land and about 10,000 more are waiting to cross the Libya-Egypt border, an Egyptian security official told the Associated Press news agency.

Egypt has said it will also send six commercial planes and two military planes to repatriate thousands more of its citizens.


Tunisia has some 30,000 nationals in Libya. Some 3,000 Tunisians crossed the border at Dhiba and Ben Gerden in southern Tunisia on Monday night, and another 1,200 were expected to be evacuated by air on Tuesday to Tunisia’s capital, state media reported.


About 30,000 Chinese nationals live in Libya.

Eighty-three Chinese nationals crossed the border into Egypt early on Wednesday, the state-owned Xinhua news agency reported. They were mostly business staff and construction workers.

Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said three Greek commercial ships were en route to Benghazi to help evacuate between 13,000 and 15,000 Chinese nationals, as well as hundreds of Greeks.

China said it was looking to send more aircraft and cargo ships to help evacuate its citizens. The foreign ministry said it was also looking at hiring large-scale passenger ships and buses to move citizens to safety.

The foreign ministry said Chinese firms had been attacked and Chinese nationals injured. It said a construction site in the eastern city of Agedabia was reportedly looted by an armed group on Sunday, and almost 1,000 Chinese workers were forced out of their on-site living quarters.


There are an estimated 30,000 Filipinos in Libya. There have been no official evacuations so far, but Vice-President Jejomar Binay is said to be reviewing emergency plans, and the government said it would buy plane tickets for any citizens who wanted to leave.


About 25,000 Turks work for Turkish construction firms in Libya. The government says the offices of 14 Turkish construction firms were looted during the unrest, though no casualties were reported.

So far, two Turkish ships have evacuated about 3,000 Turkish nationals, and another is on its way to Libya. The commercial ships which left from the Libyan port of Benghazi on Wednesday were being escorted by a Turkish navy frigate, and the first one was expected to reach the Mediterranean port of Marmaris late on Wednesday.


There are about 23,000 Thai workers in Libya, and the Bangkok Post reported that government was preparing to evacuate them if the situation worsened.


India says it is finalising plans to evacuate all of its 18,000 nationals in Libya. India’s foreign ministry says it is making plans to move 13,000 nationals in Tripoli to Tunisia, while the remainder, in the east of the country, will be moved to Egypt and then home.


It is not clear how many Italians are in Libya, but two Italian naval vessels are heading for eastern Libyan ports to get out citizens from Benghazi and other cities where airports are damaged.

Italy is continuing its commercial flights into Tripoli, but said it was prepared to mobilise four to five military aircraft, and navy ships to help with any possible evacuation of Italians.


Ukraine’s government says at least 3,000 Ukrainians are still in Libya, and it has sent a plane to get them out.

A Ukrainian doctor in Benghazi, identified as Iryna, said Ukrainian medics were scattered across Libya.

Ukrainian media report that in towns seized by anti-government protesters, Ukrainian medics have been forced to work in hospitals at gunpoint, to treat people injured in the violence.

United States

The State Department says there are about 600 US citizens in Libya, and several thousand dual US-Libyan nationals.

The State Department said it would begin evacuating its citizens from Libya by ferry to the Mediterranean island of Malta on Wednesday.

It says it is also seeking to provide flights for nationals who want to leave, and that it was trying to get 35 non-essential staff and family members of personnel at the US embassy in Libya out of the country.


More than 500 Russians are working in Libya, and so far 118 Russians are reported to have flown out on a transport plane. Reports in the Russian media say that about 150 Russians – employed to build a railway line – are currently stranded in the Libyan desert.


Two military planes with about 500 French nationals landed in Paris in the night of 22 February. About 750 French live in Libya ordinarily, although current numbers are thought to be in the region of 500-550.

United Kingdom

Britain’s foreign office says about 500 nationals live in Libya, mostly in the Tripoli area. The government said it was redeploying a warship, HMS Cumberland, off the Libyan coast in readiness for a possible sea-borne evacuation of its citizens.


Of the 321 Canadians registered with the embassy, 91 have so far expressed a wish to leave, the government said. Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon said a Canadian plane would arrive in Tripoli on Thursday.


Brazil’s foreign ministery said a ship would pick up a group of 183 Brazilians in Benghazi on Wednesday or Thursday, and take them to Malta. They are thought to be employees of engineering firm Querioz Galvao, plus their family members. Source: BBC

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3 Responses to “Millions of migrant workers trapped in Libya”
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  1. […] oil wealth has created a distorted society in which much of the hard work has been done by foreigners for more than a generation. In agriculture, in oil and in tourism, the strain was taken by migrant […]

  2. […] oil resources has combined a twisted multitude in that most of a tough work has been finished by foreigners for some-more than a generation. In agriculture, in oil and in tourism, a aria was taken by migrant […]

  3. […] oil wealth has created a distorted society in which much of the hard work has been done by foreigners for more than a generation. In agriculture, in oil and in tourism, the strain was taken by migrant […]

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