|Batch of Lankan workers from
Libya arrives today
By Rukshana Rizwie
and Arthur Wamanan
The government said yesterday that it would work
with the neighbouring countries in bringing down Sri
Lankans stranded in Libya.
Deputy Minister, External Affairs, Neomal Perera
told The Nation that the government had already
taken steps to bring down the people by sea and air.
“There are around 1,200 Sri Lankans in Libya. We
would even operate chartered flights if necessary,”
Perera said the neighbouring countries would also
assist to bring Sri Lankans stranded there.
“India has also agreed to help us. We have very good
relationships with the neighbouring countries.
Therefore, we will work together in bringing down
the people who are stranded in Libya.”
He said that the government had already instructed
the Sri Lankan High Commission in Libya on the steps
to be taken with regard to evacuating the people.
“We have instructed the people to go to the High
Commission. The necessary steps will be taken by the
High Commission itself,” the Deputy Minister added.
Meanwhile, one set of Sri Lankans who have been
caught in the crossfire and rising political unrest
in Libya are expected to arrive in the country
today, according to the External Affairs Ministry.
An official at the Ministry said that at least 36
Sri Lankans who were employed at the Sino-Hydro
Company were sent off when the political crisis
escalated in the North African country.
“Many of them boarded the vessel “Olympic Champion”
which made its way to Crete, the largest island in
Greece,” he said. “They will be among the first to
reach home on an Etihad Airways flight which is on
schedule this Sunday.”
The official also added that some 300 Sri Lankan
workers have managed to make their way to the
capital Tripoli despite escalating violence and
heavy protests and are seeking refuge with the Sri
Lankan embassy in Libya.
Since many of the Sri Lankans residing there are
labourers, who have gone through the Sri Lankan
Bureau of Foreign Employment, the SLBFE has been
tasked to arrange the physical logistical operation
of getting them all down.
“There are also some 600 other Sri Lankan workers in
Libya, many of whom are living very far from the
capital and unable to get to the Embassy. They have
however made contact with embassy officials and the
embassy has been making a great effort to try and
assist as many of them as possible”, the official