Refugee camp on Libya-Tunisia border destroyed in clashes
(1 June 2011)
Following recent clashes on 21 May 2011, a camp for refugees fleeing ongoing conflict in Libya located on the border with Tunisia has been mostly destroyed. Reports have suggested that four people died in the clashes with local Tunisian residents after fire broke out. The approximately 4000 residents of the Choucha camp are now without shelter at the Ras Jadir border crossing. The refugees are mostly from Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan, and are demanding to be resettled. The UNHCR, which has set up the camp, has said it has only received half of the funding it had requested to deal with the exodus from Libya to the border region since February 2011.
Choucha is one of four refugee camps located along Libya’s border with Tunisia, set up on 24 February 2011 by the Red Cross, Red Crescent and the UNHCR. Many refugees, mostly from sub-Saharan and East Africa, have stated they are unable to travel beyond the camp and border region due to internal police and military check-points in Tunisia. It has been reported that many have returned to Libya in attempts to escape the situation at the camps, and to board boats to make the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean to Italy.
Source: ‘Tunisia camp destroyed in fatal clashes, say UN’, BBC News, 27 May 2011; ‘Tunisia: Several killed in fire in tent city in the sand’, Afrique-Europe-Interact and Welcome to Europe press release, 24 May 2011