Asian and African Migrants Evacuated from Misrata
A ship carrying almost 1,200 Asian and African evacuees left the besieged rebel city of Misrata on Friday (April 15). They headed for the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, according to the International Organization for Migration.
There were likely to be at least 8,000 to 10,000 migrants who still needed to be evacuated from the city, according to Jeremy Haslam, an aid coordinator with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) who was on board the ship.
Haslam said that bombardment made it impossible to get into many areas of Misrata and pressed the aid ship to leave as swiftly as it could.
That meant making hard choices when deciding who to bring on board.
Many of those who did make it on board needed medical attention after weeks with little food or water.
Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have continued to bombard Misrata and battle their way into its center. U.S., British and French leaders have redefined the aim of their air war to regime change.
U.S. President Barack Obama acknowledged the military situation on the ground in Libya had reached stalemate three weeks into the war, but said he still expects NATO allies to eventually force Gaddafi from power.
Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy published a joint newspaper article on Friday, vowing to continue their military campaign until Gaddafi leaves power.
They acknowledged their new aim of regime change went beyond protecting civilians as allowed by a U.N. Security Council resolution, but said Libyans would never be safe under Gaddafi.
More than a hundred government rockets crashed into Misrata on Friday, a second day of heavy bombardment of the city, the lone major bastion of the rebels in the western part of Libya.