Libya: Thousands fleeing Libya unable to cross border

2 March, 2011
Egyptians and foreigners throng Salloum Land Port, the main border point between Egypt and Libya. Credit: IRIN/Amr Emam
Egyptians and foreigners throng Salloum Land Port, the main border point between Egypt and Libya. Credit: IRIN/Amr Emam

According to new estimates, up to 147,000 people have now fled Libya to Egypt, Tunisia and Niger. More than 25,000 people have reportedly crossed from Libya into Tunisia over the past two days, but thousands of people remain stuck on the Libyan side of the border, not allowed to cross and stranded without access to food, health, water and sanitation. This situation has created a bottleneck on the Tunisian side of the border due to lack of onward transportation.

A joint United Nations mission is being organized to carry out a humanitarian needs assessment in eastern Libya. “We are seeing terrible photographs on our television screens as people are fleeing, but we need to have a proper sense of what the needs are,” said ERC Amos at a press briefing on 28 February 2011.

Eastern Libya, including Benghazi, remains relatively calm and more aid agencies are entering. However, IFRC has indicated that there may still be some pockets of insecurity in eastern Libya, and Western Libya is still inaccessible to aid agencies.

Primary concerns are getting access particularly to Tripoli and the neighbouring area as well as ensuring that countries do not close their borders to those fleeing Libya. Meanwhile, reports from border areas show shortages in food, petrol and medical supplies.

The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) today allocated $5 million for people affected by the violence.

More>>  OCHA Situation Report #2  [English - Arabic]  -  ReliefWeb  IRIN