Télécoms Sans Frontières deploys to Libyan border
Date: Fri, 03/18/2011 - 15:04
The first TSF team arrived on 24 February at the Ras Ajdir frontier post near to Ben Guerdane, the first Tunisian town after the Libyan border.
A second team, sent as reinforcements from the international headquarters of TSF, has now joined them.
There have also been refugees returning to their native countries of Egypt, Sudan, Iraq, Eritrea, Somalia, Chad and the Palestinian territories, as well as Libyan civilians escaping the conflict.
TSF is using Inmarsat's BGAN and IsatPhone Pro satellite communications equipment to coordinate activities. It is also responding to the refugees' urgent telecommunications needs as many have had their mobile phone SIM cards confiscated.
On 25 February, more than 200 calls were made by refugees - 98 per cent of those calls were to Egypt. Crowds of people are now waiting in long queues to make phone calls.
TSF experts are working with the Red Crescent, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Tunisian Civil Defense and the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO).
The UN says a violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators in Libya is "escalating", and the AFP news agency reports there are indications that thousands may have been killed or injured.
Update - By 3 March, more than 3,650 calls had been offered to displaced people, mainly for Egypt and Bangladesh, but also to Vietnam, Mali, Ghana and the Philippines.