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An estimated 2,500 refugees who fled Libya are unable to repatriate to nations ravaged by their own wars.
“My biggest fear is that I don’t know where I’ll go,” said Bassem Mansour, 40, originally from the Gaza Strip. “I don’t even have a home. I’d be happy to go to the South Pole at this point.”
Other refugees are more hopeful.
Moussa Ibrahim, a 32-year-old Chadian refugee was brimming with pride this week at the birth of his son Khalifa, reportedly one of the first babies born in a Tunisian refugee camp.
“This week has been the happiest of my life,” said Moussa, who eventually admitted he has no idea what citizenship his 9-day-old son can now claim.
With more refugees taking resettlement into their own hands by boat, members of the European Union are at odds on how to weather the sudden influx.
Several EU nations have rebuffed Italian Premiere Silvio Berlusconi's request for assistance with the more than 20,000 Tunisian migrants who have landed in Lampedusa since January. In recent weeks, thousands of sub-Saharan refugees displaced by Libya's conflict have added to Italy's burden.
Berlusconi’s government, eager to halt the flow of migrants themselves, recently signed a deal with Tunisia offering assistance to increase its coastal police presence in the Mediterranean.
Laws aside, refugees in the camps complained that there are few other options available.
Sudanese Mahjoub Mohamed Ali has been "doing absolutely nothing" in a refugee camp since mid-March. With conflict and uncertainty in his native Darfur region, Ali will not be able to home any time soon.
Ali’s best hope, he said, is waiting for a resettlement to Europe or the United States that may never happen.
“I have no idea what I’m going to do,” said Ali. “But life here is utterly depressing. We have no computers, nothing to read, and we’re in the middle of nowhere. It’s just like being in prison.”