TRIPOLI, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced Thursday that it had evacuated more than 1,000 refugees from Libya over the past three months.
"Since November, UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, has evacuated over 1,000 highly vulnerable refugees out of Libya and is looking for durable solutions for them in third countries," the UNHCR mission in Libya said in a statement.
On Tuesday, a flight departed from Tripoli bound for Niamey, Niger, carrying 128 refugees, and on Wednesday, a second plane took 150 refugees from Tripoli to Rome, Italy, it said.
This brought to 1,084 the total number of refugees evacuated since the beginning of UNHCR's operation three months ago.
These evacuations have "provided a new chance" in life for more than 1,000 refugees who were detained in Libya and suffered tremendously, said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR's special envoy for the central Mediterranean.
"By the end of 2018, we hope to evacuate thousands more," Cochetel said.
Only 16,940 resettlement places have been received so far for the 15 priority countries of asylum along the central Mediterranean route, including Libya and Niger, Cochetel noted.
"We call on all countries to come forth with additional places that will provide a tangible solution for many more refugees who are still in Libya," Cochetel added.
The UNHCR's evacuation operation is the first in Libya since the fall of the late Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011.