IKEA Foundation donates mattresses, duvets and covers for Libya-displaced

News Stories, 24 May 2011

© UNHCR/R.Nuri
Distribution of the IKEA mattresses in Choucha camp.

RAS ADJIR, Tunisia, May 23 (UNHCR) IKEA has been furnishing homes around the world for years. It has also been providing humanitarian aid to some of the world's neediest people, including those fleeing the violence in Libya.

The world's largest home furnishing company, through the IKEA Foundation, is donating some of its bedroom products to the forcibly displaced in Tunisia under a partnership with UNHCR.

UNHCR staff last week began distributing thousands of mattresses, duvets (quilts) and duvet covers to refugees and migrant workers living in tents at Choucha camp, which is located close to the Ras Adjir crossing on Tunisia's border with Libya. Tens of thousands of people have passed through the camp after fleeing from the violence that has been sweeping Libya since mid-February.

Some of the items were also distributed in Remada camp, further south, among Libyan refugees displaced by fighting in the Western Mountains. UNHCR plans to include IKEA mattresses and duvets in aid packages for Libyan families staying with host communities in the provinces of Tataouine and Medinine, which are together hosting up to 50,000 Libyan refugees.

The IKEA Foundation has pledged 50,000 mattresses, 50,000 duvets and 50,000 duvet covers for UNHCR's operation to help those displaced by the violence in Libya. The first 10,000 mattresses were flown to Tunisia last week, free of charge, by UPS, another of UNHCR's corporate partners. The remaining items are due to arrive in Tunisia over the next month.

Since mid-February, more than 400,000 people have fled to Tunisia from Libya, including Tunisians, Libyans, refugees, asylum-seekers and migrant workers.

The IKEA Foundation has donated cash, goods and services worth more than US$10 million to the refugee agency since October 2010. Its generosity has helped forcibly displaced people in Kyrgyzstan and Somali refugees in Kenya.

www.ikeafoundation.org

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UNHCR country pages

Angelina Jolie meets boat people in Malta, Lampedusa

Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie joined UNHCR chief António Guterres on the Italian island of Lampedusa, where they met with boat people who have fled unrest in North Africa.

More than 40,000 people, including refugees and asylum-seekers, have crossed the Mediterranean on overcrowded boats and descended on the small island since the beginning of the year.

The UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador flew to Lampedusa from Malta, which has also been a destination for people fleeing North Africa by boat.

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Resettlement from Tunisia's Choucha Camp

Between February and October 2011, more than 1 million people crossed into Tunisia to escape conflict in Libya. Most were migrant workers who made their way home or were repatriated, but the arrivals included refugees and asylum-seekers who could not return home or live freely in Tunisia.

UNHCR has been trying to find solutions for these people, most of whom ended up in the Choucha Transit Camp near Tunisia's border with Libya. Resettlement remains the most viable solution for those registered as refugees at Choucha before a cut-off date of December 1, 2011.

As of late April, 14 countries had accepted 2,349 refugees for resettlement, 1,331 of whom have since left Tunisia. The rest are expected to leave Choucha later this year. Most have gone to Australia, Norway and the United States. But there are a more than 2,600 refugees and almost 140 asylum-seekers still in the camp. UNHCR continues to advocate with resettlement countries to find solutions for them.

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