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On Libya-Tunisia border, refugees plead for help to go home

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More than 95,000 have crossed this remote desert border post in the past 10 days, and most have eventually been moved on by military-style fleets of chartered planes – in the case of the majority Egyptians and Chinese – or on ships from Tunisian ports.

The IOM estimates that nearly 200,000 have left Libya so far for Tunisia, Egypt, and Niger.

Aid agencies and local Boy Scouts quick to pitch in

Aid agencies of all kinds have been quick to pitch in, and Tunisians have by all accounts been generous with donations and with their time. Boy Scouts and other volunteers handed out bread and water from the backs of trucks on Thursday, as they have done from the start.

“We wanted to buy food, but what’s happening is that people show up at the border with food. We haven’t had to buy any,” says Moadh Kheriji, a UK-based official with the Islamic Relief charity, which provides 5,000 food packages and 5,000 personal hygiene kits each day to streaming refugees.

Tunisians in even some of the poorest parts of the country have taken up collections and sent convoys with donated supplies, he says, to “help their Libyan brothers and their Egyptian brothers” after watching the plight of the refugees on television.

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