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UNHCR Tunisia Operational Update - 30 September 2019

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Key figures

  • 2,729 Persons of Concern to UNHCR
  • 1,489 Newly registered asylum-seekers and refugees since January 2019 (following profiling)
  • 1,249 New arrivals in 2019 as part of mixed population movements (land, sea and air)


USD 7.8 M required for 2019 operations

Operational Response

During September, almost no new arrivals were observed in southern Tunisia, which could be attributed to increased border controls by national authorities. Conversely, a high number of departures from the Tunisian coast toward Italy, were recorded by the Ministry of Interior and human rights groups. This trend was also confirmed on the receiving end, with the highest number of arrivals to Italian coastlines in a month, since the start of 2019. Some of these journeys resulted in tragedy, with four deaths recorded and six people missing following three rescue at sea operations conducted by fishermen and the Tunisian Coast Guard. Nevertheless, UNHCR’s Office in Tunis continues to receive and register a substantial number of new arrivals in comparison to 2018 (568 individuals in 2019, mainly from Cote d’Ivoire, Syria and Sudan).

Around 1,970 weekly food vouchers with a value of USD 10 (TND 30) were distributed to refugees and asylum-seekers in shelters and urban areas during the month of September, allowing them to locally purchase food of their choice.

On 9 September, a group of 25 asylum-seekers, mainly unaccompanied minors and women, was relocated to UNHCR’s “Ibn Khaldun” shelter, in Medenine from an IOM shelter – where they were temporarily hosted pending profiling. Food vouchers and non-food items were distributed to the group. The three UNHCR shelters in the south remain at full capacity.

Starting from 4 September, refugees in Tunisia who held regular employment with a contract validated by the Minister of Employment or who were self-employed, were able to enrol in the Tunisian social security system, thereby formalizing their employment. The Tunisian social security Institution, Casse Nationale pour la Securite Sociale, issued a note in this regard, marking an important step toward the social-economic inclusion of refugees in Tunisia