On the border between Libya and Tunisia, thousands of refugees are desperate to escape the violence in Libya and the situation has reached crisis point.
So far the Tunisian authorities have been trying to provide food and medical care but they’ve been quickly overwhelmed and the UN now wants a mass evacuation.
Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the World Food Programme has been working in the area. “We’ve had more than 70,000 people move through here and there are many thousands at the border and so we see the situation isn’t going to alleviate immediately and so now we have to look at how we can help shore up the work that is being done here by these local heros. These people are heros, what they have done is extraordinary- they are great humanitarians,” she said.
The European Commission has been quick to send staff. Over three million euros have been earmarked to help in the humanitarian effort.
Heinke Veit of the EU’s ECHO humanitarian programme said: “We’ve seen enormous generosity on the part of Tunisians and also from the authorities, but local capacity is limited. It is time for international help. Some of the money that was made available is being used to expand the camps with new tents for people to sleep, feed, and drink, and to ensure they receive the medical care they need.”
Immediate aid relief is of course the priority but what many refugees really want is to go home.