x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Filipinos from Libya reach Abu Dhabi

Refugees fleeing unrest in Libya arrive in Abu Dhabi on their way home

More than 150 refugees fleeing the unrest in Libya landed at Abu Dhabi airport last week.

At 2am on Thursday, an Air Bucharest chartered flight from Malta touched down. On board were 153 Filipinos, according to Ahmed al Haddabi, senior vice president of airports operations at Abu Dhabi Airports Company. Among the passengers were five infants.

"We provided everyone with food, took some to the hotel, gave them access to our lounges and showering facilities. We took care of them," Mr al Hadabim said.

Abu Dhabi was the final destination for the flight but embassy officials organised flights to the Philippines on commercial airlines. Embassy officials were unavailable for comment.

Airport officials worked with the Philippine embassy and by Friday afternoon, 70 per cent had boarded flights. It was expected the remaining refugees would have left on Saturday night, but that could not be confirmed yesterday.

It was unclear how they escaped Libya to Malta. There are an estimated 30,000 refugees at a refugee camp at Ras Ajdir in Tunisia next to its border with Libya. An estimated 90,000 foreign workers have passed though the border point since the unrest began.

eharnan@thenational.ae