IOM and UNHCR join forces, appeal for massive humanitarian evacuation for people fleeing Libya into Tunisia

Tuesday 1st March 2011

GENEVA - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are urgently appealing to governments for a massive humanitarian evacuation of tens of thousands of Egyptians and other third country nationals who have fled into Tunisia from Libya.

UNHCR and IOM, in consultation with the Tunisian and Egyptian governments, have today established the joint humanitarian evacuation programme. It aims to vastly enhance ongoing efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis at the border of Tunisia.

The two organizations are appealing for governments to urgently supply massive financial and logistical assets to the programme, including planes, boats and expert personnel.

More than 75,000 people have crossed the Tunisian border since 19 February, the vast majority Egyptian nationals. An estimated 40,000 more are waiting to enter from the Libyan side of the border. The two organizations deem this operation essential as the overcrowding at the border worsens by the hour.