West Libya Chaos: Refugees Pour Across Border Into Tunisia

UN Warns of 'Crisis' as Crowds Flock to Border Crossing

Having just ousted their long-standing dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in a massive public revolution, Tunisia isn’t exactly in the most stable of positions to begin with. But those problems are being compounded today as the border is being inundated with Libyan refugees.

Reports have 75,000 people crossing from West Libya in a little over a week, and reporters on the scene say tens of thousands of people, many of them foreign workers for Libya’s oil industry, are at tthe crossing waiting to get in.

The UN has been attempting to bolster humanitarian efforts at the border with airlifts of additional supplies, and also reports that it is setting up tents that could house 12,000 people at the border.

Western Libya has been the site of major clashes recently, as protesters have liberated the eastern half of the nation and have taken a number of major western cities, sparking (so far unsuccessful) violent retaliation by the Gadhafi regime.

Egyptian officials have also reported a significant number of people crossed the border on their side of the country, but most of them are said to have been Egyptian nationals and it does not appear to have overwhelmed Egypt, a much larger nation.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.