Babies saved from Libya clashes in airlift to Rome

The UNHCR airlifted 149 African migrants, including 65 minors and 13 infants (similar to the child pictured in a detention centre in April 2019) from Libya to Rome for safety. (File/AFP)
Updated 30 May 2019

Babies saved from Libya clashes in airlift to Rome

ROME: Nearly 150 migrants from East Africa, including 65 minors and 13 babies under one, were rescued from conflict-torn Libya and airlifted to Rome on Thursday by the UN refugee agency.
“Due to the violent clashes and deteriorating security conditions in Tripoli, 149 refugees and vulnerable asylum seekers were evacuated and transferred to Rome,” the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.
Those airlifted to safety — including a two-month-old infant — came from Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia, it said.
“After months spent in desperate conditions in detention centers,” and trapped by renewed fighting in the North African country, many were suffering from malnutrition or needed medical attention, UNHCR said.
“Other evacuation operations are needed,” the UNHCR mission head in Libya, Jean-Paul Cavalieri, was quoted as saying.
“These operations represent a lifeline for refugees, for whom the only way to escape is to entrust their lives to unscrupulous traffickers in order to cross the Mediterranean,” he said.
Earlier this week, 62 people from Syria, Sudan and Somalia were evacuated from Tripoli to the UNHCR Emergency Transit Center in Timisoara, Romania, where they were to receive medical care before going on to Norway.
The UN agency said it was grateful to states that have offered evacuation opportunities, but warned that “at present the number of new detainees is increasing much faster than the number of those being evacuated.”
Nearly 1,000 people have been evacuated from Libya or resettled so far in 2019, while in May alone more than 1,200 people were returned by the Libyan coast guard after being intercepted trying to cross the Mediterranean, it said.
Clashes between rival forces in Libya and heavy bombardments have forced more than 83,000 Libyans to flee their homes since the start of April, according to the UN.
More than 2,400 have also been wounded, while 100,000 people are feared trapped by the clashes raging on the outskirts of Tripoli, according to the World Health Organization.


16 dead as trains collide in Bangladesh

Updated 1 min 2 sec ago

16 dead as trains collide in Bangladesh

DHAKA: Two packed trains collided in Bangladesh on Tuesday, killing at least 16 people and injuring nearly 60 others, police said.
Three coaches were sent crashing off the tracks at Mondobhag station in the town of Kasba when a Dhaka-bound train collided with one heading to Chittagong.
“At least 16 people have been killed. And another 58 were injured. We have sent the injured to different hospitals in the region,” local police chief Anisur Rahman told AFP.
Cranes and other lifting gear were brought in to rescue trapped passengers, many of whom were asleep when the early morning crash took place.
“There was a loud noise, then I saw the train was completely ripped apart,” one injured passenger told Somoy TV.
“All the people around me were crying. There was blood everywhere. Some people had broken hands and legs,” another told the broadcaster.

Two packed trains rammed into each other in Bangladesh, killing at least 16 people and injuring nearly 60 others. (AFP)

“My son was with me. I still don’t know what happened to him,” the man added.
Hayat ud Doula Khan, a government official in the district, said the Dhaka-bound Turna Nishitha train, hit the Chittagong-bound Udayan Express at about 3:00 am (2100 GMT Monday) as the Udayan was about to go through Mondobhog station.
Khan told AFP that the Turna Nishitha train should have waited outside the station to let the other one pass. A Bangladesh railway official told reporters faulty signals could be to blame.
“Three coaches were badly mangled and the victims are from these coaches,” Khan said, adding that train services out of Dhaka had been halted because of the accident.
Train accidents are common in Bangladesh and are often caused by poor signalling or other rundown infrastructure.
According to the Shipping and Communication Reporters Forum (SCRF), a private media research group, between January 1 and June 30 this year, at least 202 rail accidents took place in the South Asian country of 168 million people where some of the track is a century old.
In June, a train plunged into a canal after the bridge it was crossing gave way. Five people were killed and 100 injured.
The SCRF said pedestrians using mobile phones while crossing tracks, negligence by railway employees and poor maintenance of lines and bridges were the main cause of accidents.