By Sophia Mwangi
They are four young women, who, like so many others in post-Gaddafi Libya, are brimming with optimism and enthusiasm. They are all under 25, current or recently graduated engineering students, and comprise two sets of sisters. The two eldest, Amira and Ibtihal say they’ve dreamed of opening a women’s centre since they attended high school together. When fighting came to the streets of the capital Tripoli this past summer, the four were among the 200,000 who fled the country.
N’Djamena - The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is delivering medical assistance to returning Chadian migrants fleeing months of unrest in Libya.
Over 40,000 Chadians who had been working in Libya have returned since violence erupted in February this year and the pace is picking up. The journey typically takes three weeks under harsh conditions.
As high-level diplomats and UN representatives gather in London to discuss the situation in Libya, the International Rescue Committee is urging participants to put the issue of humanitarian access 'firmly on the table' of today's talks.
"We're gravely concerned about the conditions of civilians in areas of heavy fighting," says Carolyn Makinson, chief executive of IRC-UK. "The situation could easily deteriorate into a humanitarian emergency."
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is deploying emergency experts to Egypt and Tunisia to support relief efforts, as tens of thousands of people stream into the two countries to escape worsening turmoil in Libya. The UN Refugee Agency says the situation is fast reaching a "crisis point". As many as 140,000 people, mostly foreigners who had been working in Libya, have crossed into Egypt and Tunisia in the past week and many more are on the move. The IRC's Emergency Response Team leader, Alan Manski, is heading the relief mission to Tunisia.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is sending members of its Emergency Response Team to Tunisia to survey the humanitarian needs of thousands of people pouring into the country to escape violence in neighbouring Libya. Veteran team leader Alan Manski and other IRC emergency experts will be traveling to the two main border crossings, Ras Adjir and Ben Guardane, where the Tunisian military has set up transit centres. Manski says the IRC will be looking at ways to help those most in need, whether they are waiting for transportation home or lack the means to return.
The International Rescue Committee has aid teams ready to assist people fleeing violence in Libya should a refugee crisis evolve. "We're watching the situation in Libya and surrounding areas very closely," says Gillian Dunn, the head of IRC emergency response operations.