ICRC begins Libyan family reunification mission

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has begun transferring by sea Libyans separated from their families to Tripoli from Benghazi and vice-versa.

This content was published on June 23, 2011 - 15:33 and agencies

The Swiss-run organisation said several hundred people were set to be transported in three rotations, including 66 former detainees released by the Libyan government.

All those being transferred had produced proof that they lived on the other side of the front line, the ICRC said in a media release on Thursday, and all were returning home of their own free will.

“These civilians have been cut off from their relatives for four months now, unable to cross front lines because of the fighting,” said Paul Castella, head of the ICRC delegation in Tripoli.

“Most of the people we are transferring are Libyans who were working away from their home towns or visiting relatives or friends when the conflict broke out. They are very eager to rejoin their families.”

The ICRC said it had facilitated some 13,600 telephone calls between family members separated by the conflict and delivered more than 640 ‘safe and well’ messages since fighting broke out in February.

The maritime transfer is expected to take three days and is being coordinated by the ICRC with cooperation from both sides.

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