Ghanaians mass up at Libya-Egypt border to be evacuated

About 700 Ghanaians fleeing the political upheaval in Libya have massed up at Salloum on the Libya-Egypt border waiting to be processed by a special Evacuation Liaison Team (ELT) sent by the government to facilitate the repatriation of citizens back home.

The numbers have been swelling by the hour as more and more Ghanaians troop to the border to enter Egypt from where they are flown home.

Majority of them are artisans although there a number of women and children.

The Team, which arrived at Salloum, about 800 kilometres from Cairo, on Thursday immediately swung into action and processed 196 citizens who were transported to Cairo Airport to be flown to Accra.

The leader of the team, Mr Clarence Hugh-Tamakloe, said the major problem with the processing of the Ghanaians was that many of them did not have travel documents and the Egyptian authorities would not allow anybody into their country without valid travel documents.

He said it was easier to process those with valid travel documents, while new documents had to be prepared for those who did not have any documents.

He said those who the Team had processed would be transported to Cairo by Friday evening after the Egyptian authorities had cleared them.

Meanwhile, the evacuees, who are part of thousands of people fleeing Libya, have been narrating harrowing experiences about their trip to the boarder.

Some said they were threatened and beaten by Libyans, who claim they were fighting on the side of the beleaguered Libyan leader, Mouammar Gadhafi.  Some also said they were denied their salaries by their employers.

The weather has not been friendly to the evacuees who have had to spend the night in the open in bitter cold weather.

The vast majority of them, however, have blankets with which they cover themselves, but the children and women are the most vulnerable under the circumstances.

The medical officials of the Team have been treating the evacuees of various illnesses including diarrhoea, bilharzia, bodily pains, hypertension and urinary tract infection.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is distributing food through the Egyptian officials, but there is no order.

The government on Tuesday announced the establishment of an Evacuation Liaison Post at Salloum to coordinate the evacuation of Ghanaian citizens from Libya.

The six-member team including medical personnel from the 37 Military Hospital, National Security, and a journalist from the Ghana News Agency (GNA) was put together to coordinate the evacuation.

The team is to augment an advance party from the Ghana Embassy in Cairo already at the border.

The statement said the Government was making similar efforts at the Tunisia-Libya border while existing arrangements to airlift Ghanaians in Tripoli and other cities in Libya continued.

Source: GNA

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