NIAMEY - Niger appealed on Tuesday for international help to deal with an influx of some 57,000 Africans who have fled violence in Libya but now face growing health problems in overstretched migrant camps.
Hundreds of thousands of Africans have worked for years in Libya, mainly as low-paid laborers in the oil industry as well as in agriculture, construction and as domestic servants.
But unlike European and Asian countries, few African states have been able to evacuate their citizens from Libya where rebels are trying to oust Muammar Gaddafi, leaving them to make the grueling desert road trip out of the country by themselves.
"The cabinet ... issues an appeal to donors for help in dealing with the return of Nigerians from Libya and also Ivory Coast," the government said in a statement read on state radio.
Around 54,000 of the Africans who have entered Niger from Libya are Nigerians. The statement did not say how many of its citizens had fled Ivory Coast, which until the ousting of former president Laurent Gbagbo this month had been gripped by a bloody power struggle in which more than 1,500 have died.