North Africa Humanitarian Situation
UNHCR has airlifted tonnes of aid, including tents for thousands of people at the borders and items such as kitchen sets, blankets, sleeping mats, jerry cans and tarpaulins. In August, we launched a Libya Ramadan initiative, providing hundreds of people in Benghazi with their evening meal during the Islamic month of fasting. In western Libya, we trucked in food while food packages have been distributed for 55,000 Libyans in southern Tunisia.
At the request of the Tunisian government, UNHCR and partners have set up a number of camps close to the Ras Adjir border post and in Tataouine province. At the end of August, more than 4,000 refugees and asylum-seekers were being hosted in three camps near the Ras Adjir crossing. Further south, tens of thousands of Libyans, mainly of Berber ethnicity, have fled the Western Mountains and found shelter in Tunisia. Several hundred are in two camps in Remada and Tataouine, but the vast majority are being hosted by local families. UNHCR has registered almost 60,000 Libyan refugees (11,830 families) in southern Tunisia's five main provinces. In parallel, UNHCR has distributed ration cards to Libyan refugees in urban areas throughout Tunisia.
Early in the crisis, a huge number of migrant workers fled to Tunisia and Egypt. To help these people and to decongest the border area, UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched a joint humanitarian evacuation operation in March. This initiative, together with air and sea evacuations organized by individual governments, dramatically relieved the overcrowding at the borders. As of late August, more than 144,000 people had been repatriated by UNHCR and the IOM, while hundreds of thousands more have returned home with the help of their governments.
UNHCR Hotline numbers:
Land line:+218-21-4777503 (24 hours)
Mobile:+218-92-552-3671 (9:00 to 14:00 hours)
+41 22 739 8618
+41 22 739 7484
Crisis in Libya
01 March 2011
UNHCR is working with the Tunisian and Egyptian authorities and aid groups to manage the dramatic influx of tens of thousands of people fleeing Libya. By the beginning of March, two weeks after the violence erupted in Libya, more than 140,000 people had fled to the neighbouring countries, while thousands more were waiting to cross. Most are Egyptian and Tunisian nationals, though small numbers of Libyans and other nationalities are managing to escape. UNHCR is particularly concerned about thousands of refugees and other foreigners trapped inside Libya, especially people from sub-Saharan Africa. The following photo essay gives a glimpse into what is happening at the borders.
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