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UNICEF responds to unrest in Libya

Tunisian child carried by his father
© Reuters/Yannis Behrakis
A Tunisian child is carried by his father, moments after crossing into Tunisia at the Ras Jdir border, to flee the unrest in Libya.

7 March 2011 - As concern mounts over the influx of returnees and migrant workers to Tunisia, UNICEF is mobilizing staff and relief supplies to the western and eastern borders of Libya.

UNICEF Director of Emergency Operations Louis-Georges Arsenault arrived in Tunisia last week to meet with government authorities, UN agencies and the National Red Crescent to discuss the humanitarian needs resulting from the unrest in Libya.

UNICEF Charter flights have been sent to the two neighboring capitals with over 160 metric tons of supplies, including hygiene kits, nutrition items and recreation and psycho-social relief items. These will be used to address immediate humanitarian needs on the Egyptian and Tunisian borders and for a possible response within Libya.

While the numbers of families crossing the border into Tunisia are reported as relatively low to date, UNICEF is concerned that children and women within Libya have been severely affected by the unrest.

Mr Arsenault also travelled to Ras Jdir, on the Tunisia–Libya border, to meet people who have fled the unrest in Libya. He also met aid officials and local authorities to discuss the needs of those at the Tunisian border.

UNICEF has requested $7.2 million to address the urgent needs of children and women affected by the crisis in Libya.

The appeal for funding comes as UNICEF moves to scale up operations, with staff already deployed to the border regions of Tunisia and Egypt to assess the needs of returnees and migrant workers fleeing civil unrest in Libya. On both borders UNICEF is working with UNHCR, IOM, and in collaboration with Egyptian and Tunisian Red Crescent Societies.

UNICEF Thailand is not currently fundraising for this emergency, but if you would like to make a donation you can do so via our international website.



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