UNICEF has mobilized staff and relief supplies in both Tunisia and Egypt

By 27 March 2011, an estimated 190,711 people had crossed the border into Tunisia to escape conflict in Libya. The conflict – which intensified with the launch of air strikes by an international coalition on 19 March – has also prompted 154,140 people to cross from Libya into Egypt, creating emergency conditions in all three countries.

More than 12,000 people are stranded at the Libyan borders with Egypt and Tunisia, and more than 31,000 people have evacuated to Algeria, Chad, Niger and Sudan. A total of 376,485 people had fled Libya; they are primarily male migrant workers, but the number of women and children arriving at the border is increasing.

UNICEF has mobilized staff and relief supplies in both Tunisia and Egypt, and has extended operations into Libya where possible. Throughout the region, UNICEF is working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization of Migration (IOM), the Egyptian and Tunisian Red Crescent Societies, and other partners, and is coordinating child protection and water and sanitation services as needed.

In Tunisia, UNICEF is providing psycho-social support, early childhood development kits and a child-friendly space, and is supporting a vaccination campaign for children and pregnant women in transit camps. A joint United Nations flash appeal for US$160 million has been issued; UNICEF’s portion of the appeal is US$8.2 million.

A Malian woman rests her head in her hand at a transit camp near the border with Libya. She carries her baby on her back and her belongings in an assortment of suitcases. She and her family have fled the conflict in Libya. © UNICEF/NYHQ2011-0506/Marta Ramoneda Tunisia, 2011