IOM, the UN Migration Agency, through its Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme facilitated the safe return of 148 Bangladeshi migrants stranded in Libya.
A Charter flight carrying returnees, including conflict wounded, survivors of failed sea crossings to Europe, and former detainees, arrived in Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Wednesday morning (Today). The flight left Misrata Airport in Libya on Tuesday bound for Dhaka, where they were assisted upon arrival by the IOM staff.Returned migrants received counseling and vulnerability screening, immediate direct assistance, assistance to obtain travel documents and other consular services, pre-departure health checks, coordination with countries of origin for specific assistance to returnees IOM at the Shelters and Misrata Airport in Libya. IOM staff in Dhaka provided food, health screenings, psychosocial support, information and cash assistance for onward travel from the airport to home.
Md. Akbor went to Libay 4 years back through a middleman in his area, Moheshpur under the Jhinaidha district. He got a job in a factory in Libya, but the salary was too poor to survive. One day an airstrike took place on his factor. 13 people including four Bangladeshis died for the airstrike
Akbor said, “It was a horrible experience. I saw people were dying. Fortunately, I was alive.”
After this horrifying experience, Akbor decided to come back home. He communicated with the IOM in Libya through the Bangladesh Embassy there. And, finally, he came back home on Wednesday. Akbor said, “It’s a big help for me. Because of the support from IOM, I have come back home.”
Among the returnees, eight persons are physically ill. They have been given intensive health care support and admitted to a hospital for treatment. Supported by the European Union Trust Fund, returnees will also receive reintegration assistance to restore their lives.
Giorgi Gigauri, IOM Bangladesh Chief of Mission, said: “As hostilities continue in Libya, we spare no effort in protecting and assisting the most vulnerable Bangladeshi migrants who find themselves stranded in most precarious conditions. We also make sure that there is a support system available for them upon return home to address the immediate humanitarian and longer-term reintegration needs.”Since 2015, over 1,400 Bangladeshi migrants have returned home through the VHR programme. IOM’s VHR programme, funded by EU and in cooperation with and support from Libyan and Bangladeshi authorities, provides vital assistance to thousands of migrants every year. Building on experience and a worldwide network of offices and partners, VHR programme strives to ensure that vulnerable migrants receive requisite protection and assistance.