I was phoned with an update today on the situation on the Egypt/Libyan border at Salloum.
“The camp is high up on a cliff with nothing else around. The wind hits you, and it gets miserably cold up there” says Nermine Hanno, a volunteer from Chefs Without Borders who went with a truck carrying 12,000 litres of water from Alexandria yesterday.
There are thousands at this border: they run out of food, water and clothing. They sleep in the cold without covers, they have no tents. There are heartbreaking (unverified) stories of people dying from the cold, or from water shortages.
3000 – 5000 frightened people arrive daily from Libya, from many nationalities, but mainly men. Unicef deals with around 100-250 women and children arrive every day.
The Egyptians and Libyans move straight through and on, they tend to have documents. Other nationalities arrive destitute, having been robbed on their flight east – in many cases owning only the clothes on their backs,
Without documents, they can be stranded on the border for days, a week, maybe more. Their only way out from the area is when one of their consulate arrives and accompanies them to a plane or a ship.
All the usual UN humanitarian agencies are there, and the Egyptian Red Crescent, doing good work with limited resources and few staff in an area to which world interest is fast fading.