Crush at Ras Jedir

Things got pretty ugly today. Where yesterday tens of thousands of people stood patiently waiting for their chance to enter Tunisia from Libya, today they surged towards the blue railings and a line of policemen trying to hold them back. Dozens were plucked unconscious from the heaving mass. Aid workers lobbed baguettes and bottles of water into the crowd. It was a miracle the railings stayed upright beneath the weight of people – migrant workers all – trying to escape Gaddafi’s dying regime.

The flows accelerate every day. On Sunday 10,000 people arrived. Yesterday it was 14,000 in 12 hours. Today it might top 15,000, saturating the Tunisian border authorities. Thousands will be left in no man’s land tonight.

Even the lucky ones face spending a night in the open, enduring plunging temperatures as the sun disappears. The race is on now to set up a transit camp for some 10,000 people, where they can stay before being shipped on. The conditions are tough. But at least these are not refugees, fleeing their own country. These people have homes to go to. The challenge now is to get them there.


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