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Libya: thousands of migrants struggle to get home on the Egypt/Libya border

09-03-2011 News Footage Ref. CR-F-01081C

Almost a hundred thousand migrants have already flocked from Libya through the overcrowded border crossing near the town of Sallum in Egypt. Two thirds of them are Egyptians returning home but the remainder are mostly foreign labourers from neighbouring African countries, many of whom have had to leave without any valid travel documents.

Footage available from the ICRC Video Newsroom (www.icrcvideonewsroom.org), Tuesday 8 March, together with accompanying dopesheet. Easy to preview and download.

For more information, please contact Didier Revol, ICRC, Geneva,
tel: + 41 79 217 32 82, or e-mail

 

Almost a hundred thousand migrants have already  flocked from Libya through the overcrowded border crossing near the town of Sallum in Egypt.


Two thirds of them are Egyptians returning home but the remainder are mostly foreign labourers from neighbouring African countries, many of whom have had to leave without any valid travel documents.  In most cases their hard earned money and all personal belongings have  been left behind.  At the border crossing, the International Committee of the Red Cross has set up an office to help those stranded here, especially those travelling with their families -  people like  Adam from Ghana:


"I've been here 4 days today. The first day, too much cold here, we did not sleep... Even water, we are struggling to get water."


Abdallah from Sudan has a similar story to tell:


"It's very cold. I have been here for two days and two nights. I am with my wife and our 3-year-old child. I want to go to my hometown in Sudan as fast as possible by any possible way. I am begging our Embassy to move as fast as it can to get us safely back home. ".


A team of Egyptian Red Crescent volunteers is handing out food rations to thousands of people every day  but as the numbers crossing the border fluctuates,  it is difficult to estimate needs.


Islam Mohamed of the Egyptian Red Crescent  explains (Arabic): "Our problem is that we are working on prediction.  We are not working on definite numbers.  For tomorrow for example, we are estimating the number of arrivals only by the news we hear about the situation across the border in Libya".


Many have been stranded here for days now as they try to get valid travel documents to get back to their home countries. Nationals of countries, mostly Sub-Saharan, that have not sent their embassy representatives to the border or do not have permanent representation in Egypt are finding it hard to acquire the necessary papers. Working alongside the International Organization for Migration,  ICRC delegates are helping those stranded to contact their country representatives to get the green light to issue them temporary travel documents which will  take them through the border.
As Samir Hadzimustafic of the  ICRC explains : "The majority of the ICRC activity here is concerning unaccompanied minors, restoring family links with people who have lost contact with their families and issuing travel documents to the people who are stranded here at the border because there is no country representative in Egypt."


It has taken a lot of patience and days and nights stranded in the cold but when the necessary papers do arrive, the lucky few are relieved to be on their way home.

LOGLIST

00 00: Crowd of migrants in the no man's land at the Libyan/Egyptian border (WS)

00 05: Four Africans eating food provided by Egyptian Red Crescent volunteers
00 10: ICRC's field officer, Abdel Aziz Mohamed walking among the migrants and looking for individuals in need of assistance
00 19: ICRC's field officer, Abdel Aziz Mohamed talking to Adam Ahmed Bawa from Ghana holding his 2 year old daughter Fatima.

00 26: Interview (English) with Adam Ahmed Bawa from Ghana:
"I've been here 4 days today. The first day, too much cold here, we did not sleep.  In the night there is rainfall, yeah little rainfall. After daybreak there is no food. Even water, we are struggling to get water.

00 40:ICRC's field officer, Abdel Aziz Mohamed talking to Abdallah Hassan Abdallah from Sudan and his family.

00 45: Interview (Arabic) with Abdel Aziz Mohamed from Sudan:
"It's very cold. I have been here for two days and two nights. I am with my wife and our 3 year old child. I want to go to my hometown in Sudan as fast as possible by any possible way. I am begging our embassy to move as fast as it can to get us safely back home. I have no money and I am worried about the coming days if I have to stay here longer".

01 08: Egyptian Red Crescent Volunteers handing out food to a long line of migrants (5 shots)

01 29: Interview in the warehouse with Islam Mohamed of the Egyptian Red Crescent (Arabic): "Our problem is that we are working on prediction.  We are not working on definite numbers.  For tomorrow for example we are estimating the number of arrivals only by the news we hear about the situation across the border in Libya".

01 40: Crowd in the overfilled arrival hall of the Egyptian immigration

01 53 Families with children camped in the arrival hall of the Egyptian immigration
02 11: Migrants filling out paperwork in a small office housing officials of the International Organization for Migration, IOM and ICRC delegates
02 25: Men in queue at the desk of IOM
02 31: Despina Spanoudi and Abdel Aziz Mohamed discussing news coming in of a pending arrival and studying a map of Libya.

02 42: Samir Hadzimustafic, ICRC delegate, helping families preparing their travel documents by taking their pictures.

02 57: Interview (English) Samir Hadzimustafic, ICRC delegate:
"The majority of the ICRC activity here is concerning unaccompanied minors, restoring family links with people who have lost contact with their families and issuing travel documents to the people who are stranded here at the border because there is no country representative in Egypt."

03 16:ICRC delegate Despina Spanoudi showing two women with an infant to a seat.

03 28: Buses leaving with those migrants that have successfully crossed the border (2 shots)

03 40: ENDS

For further information, please contact:
Hicham Hassan (English, Arabic, French), ICRC Benghazi, tel: + 20 1 87 42 43 44
Mohammad Sultan (English, Arabic), ICRC Cairo, tel: +20 1 05 05 33 10
Christian Cardon (English, French), ICRC Geneva, tel: + 41 79 251 93 02


  • Copyright: ICRC Access All
  • Release year: 2011
  • Production locations: Libya, Egypt
  • Running time: 3'40"
  • Languages available: English, Arabic (Egypt)
  • Reference: CR-F-01081C

Format: MPeg2