IRC responds to growing exodus from Libya
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. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
LATEST NEWS: IRC launching sanitation and shelter assistance on Tunisian-Libyan border
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is deploying emergency experts to Egypt and Tunisia to support relief efforts, as tens of thousands of people stream into the two countries to escape worsening turmoil in Libya.
The UN Refugee Agency says the situation is fast reaching a “crisis point.” As many as 140,000 people, mostly foreigners who had been working in Libya, have crossed into Egypt and Tunisia in the past week and many more are on the move.
The IRC’s Emergency Response Team leader, Alan Manski, is heading the relief mission to Tunisia. The team will be traveling to the two main border crossings, Ras Adjir and Ben Guardane, where more than 10,000 people are arriving daily. The Tunisian military has set up tented transit centers, but they are already overwhelmed.
IRC emergency coordinator Daire O’Reilly is leading the IRC’s response in Egypt where people continue to pour in from Libya. Most of them are Egyptian nationals and have been able to return home, but thousands of others are said to be stranded.
The IRC teams will be looking at ways to help the most vulnerable amid growing concerns about shortages of food, water and shelter. IRC aid workers are also on standby to assist in Libya where battles continue 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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