DFA sends team to Libya to help OFW’s as fighting to take Tripoli heightens, 121 killedPosted on
DAVAO CITY (April 15) — The Department of Foreign Affairs has sent two augmentation teams to Libya to hasten the operation of the Philippine Embassy as fighting near Tripoli heightens.
According to the World Health Organization, the fight near Tripoli has killed 121 people as clashes between Khalifa Haftar forces and those of the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).
Early this month, Haftar launched an offensive to take the Libyan capital-Tripoli. Haftar also has the support of key Gulf Arab states and Russia.
United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs or OCHA, said that three medical personnel had been killed and that shrapnel had put five ambulances out of action.
More than 13,500 people have been displaced and over 900 are now living in shelters, OCHA said.
The DFA has sent two teams to Libya, as many Overseas this country hosts thousands of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) .
The first team led by Executive Director Enrico Fos of the Office of Migrant Workers Affairs arrived in Tunis on Saturday where it will be stationed to assist Filipinos that the Embassy will be evacuating from Tripoli.
The second team led by Director Iric Arribas arrived Sunday in Tripoli on Sunday to assist the Filipinos in the capital should the situation require mass evacuation of OFWs.
“We still have not declared Level IV. The deployment of the augmentation teams is in anticipation of a possible surge in the number of Filipinos who may want to avail themselves of the repatriation program once fighting enters the capital itself,” Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato said in a text message.
According to the envoy, fighting is still confined to the capital’s outskirts as of Saturday, noting that the combatants have been fielding heavy ground-based weapons as well as aerial bombardment.
To date, the Embassy said it has already received 19 requests for repatriation.
While the conflict has yet to enter Tripoli, Cato said the Embassy remains proactive and aggressive in calling upon Filipinos in the area to “seriously consider” the government’s repatriation offer while it still can.
Places affected by the conflict include Sawani, Azizia, Qasr Ben Ghashir, Khallet Forjan, Ain Zara and Wadi Al-Rabee.-Ezc with PNA report