The Tunisian Red Crescent, assisted by an international Red Cross Red Crescent team, successfully opened its first transit camp at 8am on Wednesday 6 April.
The transit camp is providing a temporary safe haven for people crossing the border at Ras Jdir while their repatriation is organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
This transit camp is a first for the Tunisian Red Crescent and the operation, which was led by over 90 Red Crescent volunteers who have never before carried out such a task, went extremely smoothly and according to plan.
Many of the camp’s Red Crescent volunteers are long-time supporters of the Red Crescent. They were trained by delegates from 19 National Societies – Algerian, American, Belgian, British, Danish, Finnish, French, Iraqi, Iranian, Italian, Lebanese, Luxembourgeois, Moroccan, Dutch, New Zealand, Norwegian, Palestinian, Qatari, Syrian – and many were able to put into practice the experience they had gained whilst working at the Shousha transit camp in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
After just one day of being open, a total of 317 people were registered at the camp, including 13 families. All residents were given a hot meal from the kitchen run by the Italian Red Cross and Algerian Red Crescent. They also received a package of basic relief items for hygiene and warmth. The medical centre, which is staffed by Algerian, Italian and Tunisian doctors, is open 24 hours a day.
Staff and volunteers from the IFRC and Red Crescent are continuing to develop the camp to increase its capacity and services and to ensure that its residents are as comfortable as possible during their short stay. The camp already has already reached a capacity of 2,200 people and more tents are being installed.
The camp will welcome more people each day, relieving pressure on the nearby UNHCR Shousha camp that is almost at saturation point as a result of a slowdown in IOM-funded repatriations.
On average, 1,700 third country nationals have been arriving across the border each day for the past two weeks. IOM has, reportedly received new funds so flights are expected to increase again in the next few days, which should ease the pressure on all camps as people are able to travel back home.