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As 140,000 people flee Libya, UN asks Britain to open its doors to refugees

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`We will continue to ask EU to keep borders open’: Baroness Amos

02 March 2011: As 140,000 people flee Libya, UN has asked Britain to open its doors to refugees.

crisis_in_libya-unhcr.pngAs a result of the call, Britain can possibly face a fresh wave of migrants from the troubled state. It is, in fact, believed EU nations, including Britain, could see an incursion of refugees leaving North Africa.

The UN Emergency Relief co-ordinator Baroness Amos told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “In asking for the borders of neighbouring countries like Tunisia and Egypt to stay open, it is important that EU borders also stay open.

Baroness Amos said she knew the EU countries were going through a difficult financial time, but they were still much better off than people fleeing a violent and difficult situation in Libya.

Baroness Amos said they would continue to ask the EU and neighbouring countries to keep their borders open.

The UN said the refuges had fled Libya, half of them crossing into Egypt and half into Tunisia. Already, the situation in Tunisia at the verge of reaching a crisis point, as thousands of refugees are in urgent need of food, water and shelter.

A substantial number of refugees were Egyptians working in Libya. They have dispersed to their home towns and villages over the Egyptian border. But on the Tunisian side, the situation was "at crisis point", UNHCR emergency staff said.

Tunisia’s mission chief for the International Organisation for Migration Mark Petzold said thousands of migrants were still awaiting authorisation to enter Tunisia; and there was an urgent need to decongest the border area lacking adequate facilities to host large numbers of people.

To make the matters worse, the fleeing migrant workers have been under attack from opponents of Colonel Gaddafi, after they were mistaken for mercenaries being used by the government to crush the rebellion.

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