Aid Ships Stop Risky Journey To Libya's Rebel Capital
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
We heard from our correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro. Now we're going back to Lourdes once again in the rebel-held city of Benghazi. She's monitoring the situation in Misrata. What's happening now, Lourdes?
LOURDES GARCIA: And so today the International Organization for Migration was able to get its ship in and it is evacuating some one thousand African migrants, also taking in several tons of food, medical supplies and water to that besieged city. Nothing has been coming in or out of there for at least three days and so the situation rebels had told us was fairly desperate. They were running out of things like baby formula, and so this is a much needed humanitarian mission that is now on its way.
INSKEEP: So, some supplies are getting in today and some non-Libyan workers are getting out. Does that mean that the sea route is now clear?
GARCIA: But while this is happening I can tell you that the port is being shelled. We have had reports of five people being killed in the port today while this mission is ongoing. So, on the one hand you have the harbor being mined, and on the other hand Gadhafi forces shelling the port, which is such an important avenue in and out of Misrata.
INSKEEP: If I'm not mistaken, the front lines are not far from the port of Misrata, right? So the rebels have to hold on to prevent being completely cut off.
GARCIA: There has been a very intense battle going on to the airport. The rebels want to capture the airport so they'll have another avenue to get supplies in, but so far they haven't been able to take it. That is still controlled by Gadhafi's forces.
INSKEEP: So there is ammunition available on the ground in Misrata.
GARCIA: There has been ammunition available on the ground. I mean, for the past three day nothing has been getting in through the port, but they have been able to hold on, they still have enough to have gotten them through those three days. And they believe if more ships can come in, then they will be resupplied. But, you know, it's a very ropey, you know, situation there. I mean, this is a city that is basically encircled. The only avenue in and out is this port. And ships have been coming in, but it's not like there're massive shipments coming in, dozens of boats every day. It's been very reedy. It's a long voyage. It's very fraught. It's not like they're extremely well equipped.
INSKEEP: NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, monitoring the situation in Misrata; Rebel-held city in Libya. Thanks very much.
GARCIA: You're welcome.
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