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UNICEF sets up sanitation facilities at transit camps on the Tunisia-Libya border

By Roshan Khadivi

RAS JDIR, Tunisia, 30 March 2011 – With no end in sight to the crisis in Libya, the daily influx of people into southern Tunisia continues as people flee over the border by car, bus and even on foot.

VIDEO: 24 March 2011 - UNICEF correspondent Priyanka Pruthi reports on assistance being provided to migrants at transit camps on the Tunisia-Libya border.  Watch in RealPlayer


The migrants are registered at Ataawan transit camp and stay overnight, before being transferred to the Shousha camp, where they stay until they find a way back to their home countries.

UNICEF is coordinating Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) activities as part of the humanitarian emergency response at the Tunisia-Libya border.

“The coordination is to ensure the operation and maintenance of sanitation and hygiene facilities and services in the camps, while improving the quality,” says UNICEF WASH Cluster Coordinator Souleymane Sow.

Daily relief efforts

UNICEF covers sanitation needs for more than 7,000 people at the Shousha camp. It is an on-going logistical operation to ensure that people there, particularly women and children, have access to adequate and hygienic facilities, and to prevent transmission of diarrhoeal bacteria and other preventable diseases.

© UNICEF Tunisia/2011/Ramoneda
UNICEF is providing hygiene kits to migrants staying in transit camps on the Tunisia-Libya border.

Hygiene kits are being distributed in the camp and messages are also being prepared to raise awareness of good sanitation and hygiene practices, such as hand-washing.

UNICEF WASH Specialist Ahmedou Ould Sidi Ould Bahah is working at the border, assessing sanitation facilities including latrines, showers and water tanks in the Ataawan and Shousha transit camps.

He meets daily with national partners and volunteers, and liaises with the local municipality of Ben Guardane to ensure septic tanks are cleared in a timely manner.

A total of 632 latrines have been set up by UNICEF and partners at the camp, and more are being constructed. 

Contingency planning

Supplying water trucks at Shousha is currently the only means of providing safe water to the migrants. Discussions are already underway with local officials about drilling a borehole at the camp to address water supply issues during the upcoming hot season.

© UNICEF Tunisia/2011/Ramoneda
A woman waits to use one of the UNICEF-provided latrines in a transit camp on the Tunisia-Libya border.

There has been a slight increase in the number of people in the Shousha transit camp, bringing the number this week to 7,785 people, including more than 400 families.

As the crisis in Libya continues, contingency plans continue to evolve in order to ensure that UNICEF and partners can meet the WASH needs of migrants crossing the border daily into southern Tunisia.



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