74 vulnerable refugees evacuated from Libya in MOAS' first aerial mission

51 children, 22 women and one man who were yesterday taken out of Tripoli and flown to Niger can now ‘hope anew’, MOAS said

74 vulnerable refugees were last night evacuated from Tripoli, Libya to Niamey, Niger, where they arrived Friday morning in MOAS' first aerial mission
74 vulnerable refugees were last night evacuated from Tripoli, Libya to Niamey, Niger, where they arrived Friday morning in MOAS' first aerial mission

The Migrant Offshore Aid Station yesterday evacuated 74 vulnerable refugees from Libya, taking them to Niger, in what was the first ever aerial mission of its kind conducted by the foundation.

Vincent Cochetel, special envoy of the Central Mediterranean Situation of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees reported that 51 children, 22 women and one man were flown from Mitiga Airport, Tripoli at 10pm local time Thursday.

They arrived safely in Niamey early Friday morning, with Chochetel asserting that the refugees could ‘hope anew’, with their detention now over.

“This evacuation could not have happened without the support of the authorities and of our partners, including MOAS in Libya,” Cochetel maintained.

The refugees, all Eritrean of Somali nationals, will be staying in guesthouses in the Nigerien capital, MOAS said, with the children lodging in dedicated centres which offer the right assistance, psychological support and leisure activities.

The UNHCR will strive to determine where best to resettle each refugee, MOAS added. This comes following an urgent UNHCR appeal on Monday to find resettlement places by March 2018 for 1,300 refugees in Libya.

In connection to this, MOAS will be providing expert operational support and evacuation flight assistance, in line with its strong commitment towards long-term European migration crisis solutions.

Christopher Catrambone, MOAS founder, said that “These evacuation flights represent an evolution of MOAS’ services to refugees who find themselves in Peril,” as he highlighted that it was through very significant coordination between MOAS and the UNHCR that it was possible to mitigate the suffering of the refugees and give them 'hope and dignity'.

MOAS has rescued and assisted over 40,000 persons since its foundation, in 2014, as an international charity, active at sea, on the ground, and now also in the air, with the goal of mitigating the suffering of those risking their lives in the search for safety.

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