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As Former Migrants Try to Return to Libya, IOM Appeals for Reintegration Funds

By International Office of Migration (IOM)

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GENEVA, Switzerland, July 17, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- As growing numbers of Chadian migrants try to re-enter Libya in search of jobs, IOM is urging donors to provide badly needed funds to implement reintegration and community stabilization programmes especially in areas of high return and border regions of Borkou and Ennedi.

Since the return of more than 120,000 Chadian migrants from Libya, IOM programmes to help returnees reintegrate in their communities, sometimes after decades, remain desperately under-funded. Only Germany has so far provided funding to help IOM to provide psychosocial assistance and social reintegration to Chadian returnees in some areas of high return.

Few options for the returnees have led to dissatisfaction and despair and some are now attempting to re-enter Libya, often without documents.

Recently, the Chadian government asked IOM to assist a group of 110 undocumented Chadian and Sub-Saharan Africans to return to their homes after they were found destitute while attempting to cross into Libya. Many in the group were former migrants repatriated from Libya during the crisis, unable to find jobs in their own countries.

According to the Governor of Bourkou region, bordering Libya, the group included vulnerable migrants who were stranded at the desert border crossing with no food or water. IOM sent a team to the area and extracted the migrants from a potentially a life-threatening situation.

IOM helped the non-Chadians, who included Nigerian, Senegalese, Malian, Sudanese and Guinean nationals, to get temporary travel documents from their embassies and flew them to their respective countries. The Chadian nationals were also helped to return to their places of origin.

An IOM impact assessment study carried out in areas of high return in the country between January and March this year revealed that most Chadian returnees from Libya face daily challenges due to lack of work. Many were unable to meet their basic needs, including food, housing, health and education.

"They are extremely vulnerable and cannot cope with their new life initially without support. Additionally, the IOM profiling exercise found that most returnees had only limited education. Funds are needed for vocational training, as well as for the provision of special assistance to their children, who do not speak the Chadian Arabic," says IOM Chad Chief of Mission Qasim Sufi.

Meanwhile, ten trucks carrying 705 Chadian migrants told to leave Libya have now arrived in the Chadian town of Faya Largeau. The migrants were in the country without proper documents. Others have left Libya on their own, fleeing from tribal clashes in the south of the country.

On 3rd July, 2012, the Chadian authorities informed IOM of the arrival of the first convoy of 360 migrants, travelling from the southern Libyan town of Gatroun. They asked IOM for urgent assistance to meet the basic needs of those arriving at Faya Largeau, including the provision of food, non-food relief items, medical care and psychosocial support, as well as onward transportation to other final destinations in the country.

All the migrants have now been assisted to reach their areas of origin in the country, except 16 individuals who were admitted to Faya Largeau hospital suffering from various illnesses. Another four migrants died en route to the border.

The end will justify the mean.
By: DJ Nelson