PH chartered ship from Libya arrives in Malta

By Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Aug 16 2014 10:55 AM | Updated as of Aug 16 2014 06:55 PM

VALLETTA – The chartered vessel carrying Filipino evacuees from Libya arrived before twelve noon in the port of Valletta in Malta.

The Maltese ship carrying 787 Pinoy evacuees and 14 foreign nationals was expected to arrive here on Tuesday but due to the closure of the port in Benghazi, the repatriation was delayed for two days.

Of the total, 440 evacuees boarded the ship in Benghazi and 367 from Misrata port. First to disembark the ship were the foreign nationals.

For the Philippine Rapid Response Team on the ground, headed by Consul General Leila Lora Santos and Undersecretary for Migrant Affairs Jesus Yabes, the Malta mission is almost complete.

"Itong evacuation na ito, 80 percent na kasi dadalhin pa sila sa Pilipinas. Pero ang buong evacuation na ito, tuloy-tuloy ito, di lang nga natin alam yung susunod. As of now we don't have the numbers para sa susunod na barko," said Yabes.

Many Filipino evacuees have left everything behind in Libya to escape the violence that has erupted key cities. They are appealing for the government to help them.

Their journey started in Benghazi and Misrata and now they are just a plane ride away from their loved ones in the Philippines.

The evacuees were transported to Luqa Airport by bus. The first batch of Filipino evacuees left for Manila at 2 a.m. on Saturday, and the second batch followed two hours later.

This is largest single repatriation initiated by the Philippine government since violence broke out in Libya due to rival militia groups fighting for control.