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The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has approved a USD 1 million humanitarian emergency assistance grant to the International Red Cross Committee (ICRC) and the Tunisian Red Crescent (TRC).
The grant, mobilized over a four-day record time, aims to help meet the immediate needs of displaced people at the Tunisia/Libya border, following the civil unrest and armed conflict in Libya. It will support the tremendous efforts of the Tunisian government to cope with the humanitarian crisis. "With this exceptional emergency grant procedure, we wanted to minimize the risks associated with a deteriorating situation at the border and quickly help people crossing the border," said Jacob Kolster, AfDB Operations Director for North Africa.
On 10 March 2011, it was estimated that 115,000 people had crossed the Tunisia-Libya border. An average of 2,000 people continues to do so each day, and new waves of displaced people are likely to flock to the border if the fighting continues.
The ICRC and the TRC are charged with administering the AfDB assistance to the displaced people at the border near Ras Jdir. The grant will help to improve logistics such as increased sheltering capacity, purchase of vehicles and supply of blankets. On the medical front, health facilities such as medical kits and water and sanitation systems will help to prevent the spread of epidemics.
For their part, Bank staff volunteered and organized a blood collection campaign last week for hospitals near the Tunisian border where ill people coming from Libya are treated. The staff also voluntarily contributed 21,200 dinars, which was handed over to the TRC on Friday, March 11, during a ceremony at the temporary headquarters of the AfDB in Tunis. "I am deeply touched by the expression of solidarity by AfDB staff, " said Tahar Cheniti, TRC Secretary General.