Humanitarian Crisis Unfolds on Libya's Borders

Nearly 100,000 people have fled fighting to Egypt, Tunisia
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2011 8:45 AM CST
Humanitarian Crisis Unfolds on Libya's Borders
Egyptians who used to work in Libya and fled the unrest in the country wait in line for some food in refugee camp set up by the Tunisian army, at the Tunisia-Libyan border, in Ras Ajdir, Tunisia.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The violence and unrest gripping Libya is creating a humanitarian crisis, as almost 100,000 people have fled the fighting for Egypt and Tunisia, reports the New York Times. About half of the refugees are Egyptians, but those fleeing includes Libyans, Chinese, and others, mostly poorer laborers. "We call upon the international community to respond quickly and generously to enable these governments to cope with this humanitarian emergency," said the UN's high commissioner for refugees.

“According to the tribal leaders, Africans are being treated with suspicion in eastern Libya, due to rumors about the government employing mercenaries from sub-Saharan Africa,” said a statement by the refugee agency, which so far has distributed more than 100 tons of emergency supplies, such as blankets, tents, and cooking equipment. The number of people fleeing increased over the weekend, as pro- and anti-Gadhafi forces moved closer to each other, especially around Tripoli. (Read more Libya stories.)

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