UNHCR evacuates 149 refugees, asylum seekers in Libya to Italy

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UNITED NATIONS, May 30 (Xinhua) -- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Thursday safely evacuated 149 refugees and asylum seekers in Libya to Italy amid clashes in Tripoli that claimed the lives of six health workers, a UN spokesman said.

The 149 evacuees -- nearly half of whom are children -- are from Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia, and many need medical treatment and are malnourished, said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, citing UNHCR.

They were moved from an agency facility after surviving months of dire conditions in Tripoli detention centers.

Fighting in and around the Libyan capital had claimed the lives of six healthcare workers and injured seven others, Haq said, citing humanitarian colleagues. Two "clearly-marked ambulances" were shelled earlier in the week.

The latest evacuation came after 62 refugees from Syria, Sudan and Somalia fled Tripoli to UNHCR's emergency transit center in Timisoara, Romania, before going to Norway, he said, noting that UNHCR was grateful for countries accepting evacuees. Enditem

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