MANILA — The Philippine Embassy in Libya on Thursday urged Filipinos living in Tripoli and nearby areas anew to get repatriated as fighting escalates in the city’s outskirts.
“We are making these appeals to our kababayan in Tripoli while we are still in a position to assist. Once the fighting reaches the capital, our capacity to respond to requests for assistance would be severely affected,” Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato said on his official Twitter account. The envoy also asked members of the Filipino community in the capital and in areas near where armed clashes are taking place to move to safer locations.
Cato said 12 Filipinos have already expressed interest to be repatriated, while 18 were evacuated by their employers to a safer location outside Tripoli
“Some are initial inquiries and we still have to process their exit clearance but we will try to get them out as fast as we could,” he noted.
“For the first time since the conflict began, we heard occasional artillery fire. We could hear it from the Embassy,” he added.
On Monday, the Department of Foreign Affairs raised the alert level in Tripoli and nearby areas to a voluntary repatriation phase upon the recommendation of the Embassy.
This covers Filipinos working and living in Tripoli, as well as in Tajoura, Ghot Romman, Qaraboli, Qasr Khiyar, Esbea, Tarhuna, Bani Waled, Gharyan, Aziziya, Warshifana, Zawia, Surman, and Sabratha.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, flared-up violence in and around Tripoli has led to an upsurge in displacement, with 1,675 new displacements reported in its latest monitoring, bringing the total number of internally displaced people in the area to 4,500.
“The security situation in and around Tripoli remained volatile, with continued armed clashes reported on the Wadi al-Rabie, the Qasr Ben Gashir and the Ain Zara axes, and airstrikes from both sides in Souq al–Khamis and al-Shwayrif,” its situational report no. 3 read.
“Over 500,000 children living in Tripoli are at immediate threat and tens of thousands more in other areas could become potentially affected,” it added.
There are at least 1,000 members of the Filipino community residing and working in the Libyan capital and in western parts of that country.
Joyce Ann L. Rocamora /PNA – northboundasia.com