Filipino scholars studying at shelled Islamic Call College in Libya unharmed – PH envoy
Marje Pelayo • January 6, 2020 • 388
MANILA, Philippines – Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato of the Philippine Embassy in Libya confirmed that all Filipino scholars studying at the Islamic Call College in Tripoli are all safe after several shells exploded just outside the campus.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), meanwhile, reiterates appeal to Filipinos especially those working in the conflict-stricken city to avoid the areas of clashes and, if necessary, immediately evacuate.
In a separate tweet, Chargé d’Affaires Cato confirmed that a shell exploded just near the clinic were eight Filipino nurses were working.
The three nurses were evacuated on Thursday (January 2) prior to the blast.
The DFA assured that the embassy in Tripoli is ready to assist other Filipinos in relocating to safer areas so long as the situation on the ground would allow the rescue teams to reach them and will provide shelter to Filipinos who will be displaced by the conflict.
So far, more than 20 Filipinos have already evacuated their residences in Salahuddin District and are now staying with relatives and friends, the DFA reported.
The DFA said the Embassy will continue to assist Filipinos who may want to avail repatriation.
Three Filipinos so far have availed of the program since the start of the year, the DFA said.
The Philippine Embassy in Libya on Monday reported its first case of Filipino to have contracted novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The embassy said the patient is a 47-year old Filipino emergency room nurse in Tripoli, who most likely got exposed to the virus while on duty.
“Our kababayan got infected while in the line of duty the same way the approximately 1,000 other Filipino nurses and hospital workers are putting themselves at risk serving the people of their adopted country—Libya,” the embassy said in a statement.
It added that the Filipino nurse is part of the 36 new COVID-19 cases in Libya on Monday.
Libya has so far recorded 434 cases of coronavirus infections, with 10 fatalities and 63 recoveries.
The Philippine embassy has renewed its call on concerned Libyan authorities to ensure the well-being of Filipino health workers in their country by providing them with proper personal protective equipment to allow them to effectively and safely do their jobs.
Libya’s internationally recognized government on Tuesday (February 18) suspended talks hosted by the United Nations to halt warfare over the capital after eastern forces shelled Tripoli’s port, killing three people and almost hitting a highly explosive gas tanker.
Footage from Tripoli’s port showed black smoke rising near docked ships from the area believed to have been hit by shelling.
The U.N. has been hosting in Geneva ceasefire talks between officers from the Tripoli government and the eastern-based Libya National Army (LNA) led by commander Khalifa Haftar.
The two factions have been trying to take the capital in a near year-long campaign, displacing at least 150,000 people.
The LNA on Tuesday shelled Tripoli port, saying first it had attacked a Turkish vessel bringing weapons but saying later it had hit an arms depot. Three civilians were killed and five wounded, the Tripoli forces said.
In response to the LNA attack, the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord said in a statement it suspended its participation in ceasefire talks “until firm responses are taken against the attacker, and we will respond firmly to the attack in appropriate timing.” (Reuters)
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The UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, says up to 150 people are feared dead after a wooden boat carrying migrants capsized off Libya.
The head of the UNHCR, Filippo Grandi, said in a tweet that it was the worst such tragedy in the Mediterranean this year.
The Libyan navy said it had rescued 134 people, with 115 missing, feared drowned.
It said about 250 people were on board the ship when it capsized off the coast near Khoms, east of the capital Tripoli. Most are thought to be from Eritrea and other sub-Saharan Africa and Arab countries.
Dozens of survivors were brought to Khoms after being rescued. A Sudanese migrant, Sabah Youssef, who lost her seven-year-old son in the sinking, blamed the International Organization for Migration for turning her away when she went to them for help.
Libya is a hub for migrants and refugees, many of whom try to reach Europe in unseaworthy boats. The latest shipwreck takes the death toll of Mediterranean migrants to over 600 this year. (REUTERS)
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