From file: Doctors Without Borders aid workers with migrants on the NGO's Geo Barents ship | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/MSF
From file: Doctors Without Borders aid workers with migrants on the NGO's Geo Barents ship | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/MSF

Twenty-seven persons who suffered abuse and torture in Libyan detention centers have found shelter in Italy and will have access to specialized medical assistance. The group was evacuated at the end of June with a humanitarian flight from Libya to Italy; approximately half are now hosted in apartments offered by Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

The medical charity Doctors without Borders (MSF) announced on July 22 the transfer of 27 vulnerable migrants from detention centers in Libya to Sicily.

Around half -- among them women and their children -- are now hosted in apartments offered by the NGO and will be looked after by a clinic specialized in survivors of violence and torture that is managed in collaboration with the provincial health company (ASP) of the city of Palermo, Sicily.

The other persons will be hosted in shelters across Italy and will continue to receive medical attention by the MSF team when a follow-up is necessary, according to the NGO.

'They will have the chance to start living again'

"They wiil have the change to start living a normal life," says Giorgio Calarco, project medical referent for MSF in Palermo. "At the same time they will receive medical and psychological supervision and they will be supported along the way to insure their access to the national health system."

"Within the framework of a public-private partnership, of ASP Palermo and MSF aid workers, the former is pleased to take on the responsibility of looking after these persons and offer them the medical assistance they need," states Ornella Dino, doctor responsible for the promotion of migrant health of the ASP in Palermo. The migrants will have the possibility of joining "therapy specific to their needs," Dino added.

'The number of humanitarian corridors from Libys is still too low'

The migrants arrived in Italy on 30 June after having been evacuated with a humanitarian corridor flight organized by the Community of Sant'Egidio, the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy (FCEI), the Waldesian Board, UNHCR, the Italian Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The group includes nationals from Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea who were blocked in Libya for months or years.

"It is a great satisfaction to have managed to evacuate some of the patients we were already curing in Libya. The majority of them has suffered abuses, torture and violence and we want to guarantee they receive specialized treatment for their rehabilitation," says Edmond Tarek Keirallah, MSF project leader in Palermo.

MSF says it aims to strengthen evacuation channels in order to transfer patients from Libya to safe countries such as Italy. So far the number of humanitarian corridors from Libya remains limited.


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