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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

IOM Comes to the Rescue

IOM (International Organization for Migration)

Ethiopian Orthodox Church service in Lebanon

1,500 Bangladeshi, Ethiopians, Sri Lankans, Filipinos and Ghanaians are expected to be evacuated by IOM from Lebanon in the next few days.

In order to meet the escalating and urgent demands for the evacuation of those foreigners who are stranded in Lebanon without money or papers and with governments without the resources to assist them, IOM has released US$750,000 from an emergency fund. The Organization has appealed for US$14 million to provide evacuation assistance from Lebanon and Syria and humanitarian assistance for internally displaced people in Lebanon but it is likely that this may need to be revised to reflect an evolving crisis.

IOM has now been asked by 19 governments to help their nationals who are currently stranded in Lebanon, some in difficult to access locations. Various individual requests are also coming in with numbers growing by the day. IOM has been made aware of a minimum of 11,600 people who need evacuation assistance urgently from the following countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Iraq, Madagascar, Mali, Moldova, Nepal, Paraguay, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Venezuela and Vietnam.

With increasing numbers of calls for help by individuals, some by people whose employers are refusing to let them go, IOM has also set up a helpline number for those needing assistance.

The number is:
+961 70 972 520.

For further information, please contact:

Jean Philippe Chauzy
IOM Geneva
Tel: + 41 22 717 9361/mobile: + 41 79 285 4366

Jemini Pandya
IOM Geneva
Tel: + 41 22 717 9486/mobile: + 41 79 217 3374