2 March 2011
As thousands of people continue to flee Libya, the Red Cross and Red Crescent have been working at the country’s borders to help those fleeing the unrest.
As of yesterday, more than 147,000 people have fled to Tunisia and Egypt since the crisis began. Many of them are Egyptians trying to return home, while others are seeking to be repatriated to their home countries.
The Egyptian Red Crescent and the Tunisian Red Crescent are working at their respective borders with Libya to help people who are crossing.
Relief, health and emergency care
©Reuters/ AlertnetWith thousands of people crossing into Tunisia and Egypt every day, sanitation, shelter, food and hygiene issues are becoming significant. Although most people are not settling on the border – they tend to spend less than a day there before moving on to cities they can be repatriated from – the Red Cross is concerned about lack of shelter and access to water and sanitation facilities.
The Egyptian Red Crescent has been providing first aid, psychological support, meals and drinks to those fleeing from Libya. They have also distributed tents, mattresses, pillows, personal hygiene and first aid kits.
The Tunisian Red Crescent has been providing emergency medical care and distributing blankets. An international medical team of a surgeon, an anaesthetist and two nurses is also working at the border.
Restoring family links
When people are displaced due to conflict or natural disasters, the Red Cross helps reconnect them with their families.
The Tunisian Red Crescent and Egyptian Red Crescent have helped around 750 people make phone calls to assure their families they are safe.
At present, due to the lack of information, it is difficult to estimate how many people will need assistance. Many have died and been injured, but the exact toll is currently impossible to establish.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which specialises in helping people in conflicts, has sent a medical team to Benghazi in Libya. The team – two surgeons, a doctor and a nurse – is advising and training local doctors on how to treat injuries sustained during violence.
The ICRC has also sent a shipment of medical supplies, which arrived in Libya last night.
“The situation in Libya, and more generally in the region, is serious and has the potential to deteriorate,” said Matthias Schmale, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ under-secretary general. “We highly commend all involved, especially Egyptians and Tunisians, who, in the name of humanity and solidarity, are helping those fleeing the troubled areas in Libya.”