Thousands of Bangladeshis stranded in Tunisia

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RAS JDIR – Over 10,000 Bangladeshis who fled revolt-hit Libya were still stranded in Tunisia on Friday after planeloads of Egyptians were airlifted home in a major international operation. Since Wednesday the evacuation involving an aircraft and ships from France, Britain and other countries has shifted thousands of migrants who fled across the border amid a violent crackdown on an uprising against Gaddafi.
But concerns were growing for destitute Bangladeshi labourers who had been left behind, sleeping out in the open for days around the main border at Ras Jdir, about 175 kilometres from the Libyan capital. “Thanks to a rapid response from the international community, significant progress has been made in the evacuation of Egyptians and other nationalities from Tunisia,” a UNHCR spokeswoman said.
“A total of around 12,500 people still need evacuation. Over 10,000 are from Bangladesh,” spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said in Geneva, adding that two flights were planned for Bangladesh on Friday. A line of thousands of Bangladeshis stretched between Ras Jdir and a camp at Choucha, seven kilometres away, as Tunisian authorities moved the refugees into spaces left vacant by Egyptians.