IRC deploys emergency experts to Libya–Tunisia border
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is sending members of its Emergency Response Team to Tunisia to survey the humanitarian needs of thousands of people pouring into the country to escape violence in neighboring Libya.
Veteran team leader Alan Manski and other IRC emergency experts will be traveling to the two main border crossings, Ras Adjir and Ben Guardane, where the Tunisian military has set up transit centers.
Manski says the IRC will be looking at ways to help those most in need, whether they are waiting for transportation home or lack the means to return. He says there are growing concerns about shortages of food, water and shelter as more people stream in by the hour.
The UN Refugee Agency estimates that 40,000 people, mostly foreign nationals, have fled to Tunisia and more than 50,000 people have crossed into Egypt, where the IRC is preparing to dispatch additional aid workers.
The number of people fleeing Libya spiked in recent days as battles intensified between forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi and opposition fighters seeking to oust him.
The recent wave of anti-government protests and violence in the region has also hit Iraq and Jordan, where the IRC assists uprooted Iraqis, as well as in Sudan, where the IRC runs extensive humanitarian aid and recovery programs, and Yemen, where the IRC recently conducted a needs assessment.
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Melissa Winkler (New York)
Melissa.Winkler@rescue.org, +1 212-551-0972 or +1 646-734-0305
Stefano Gelmini (London)
Stefano.Gelmini@rescue-uk.org, +44 20 7692 2739