Some 10,000 Libyans flee to Tunisia: UNHCR

19th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Some 10,000 Libyans have fled in the last 10 days from the besieged Western Mountains region to Tunisia, the UN refugee agency said Tuesday.

"UNHCR is seeing a growing number of Libyan refugees arriving in Tunisia from Libya's Western Mountains regions," said Andrej Mahecic, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

"This past weekend, some 6,000 Libyan nationals arrived in the Dehiba area of southern Tunisia. Overall, we estimate that 10,000 Libyans have crossed into this area over the past 10 days," he added.

Most of the refugees are from the town of Nalut, about 50 kilometres from the Tunisian border.

"They told our staff that the Western Mountains area has been effectively under siege by the government forces for a month and that the pressure on the civilian population has been increasing daily," said Mahecic, pointing out that the fighting and shelling has intensified significantly over the weekend.

Amid the outflow, Dehiba is now "teeming with Libyan refugees," said the UN refugee agency.

Most of the refugees have found shelter in local communities while others are staying in the communal buildings or camps set up by local authorities, the UAE Red Crescent as well as the UNHCR.

© 2011 AFP

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