Sfax - Tunisia : '' Just stranded and dying in Tunisia.'' Europe pushed to keep migrants away. Africans ended up in scorching no-man's land.

For nearly three weeks now, more than 1,000 men, women and children from Africa have been clinging to survival in the no-man's lands at Tunisia's borders.

Videos showed that a few scruffy trees offer spotty shade, and border guards from neighboring Libya and Tunisian aid workers occasionally drop off water and a bit of bread.

Otherwise there is nothing.

The Tunisian authorities dumped the African migrants there after rounding them up in the Mediterranean port of Sfax, hours away, where growing numbers have boarded boats to nearby Europe this year.

Many were beaten by officIals; a few have died in the desert, where there is no medical care, migrants and rights groups say.

OVER AND OVER, they sent pleas for help on the dwindling number of phones they managed to keep charged:

'' Please help us. We are dying, '' one wrote to The New York Times last Saturday. '' '' We don't have any food and water,'' begged another. '' We are stranded. If there's any way you can help us ...............''

By last Sunday, the text messages had stopped.

With migration to Europe at its highest level since 2016, the route from North Africa is once again posing a dilemma for Europe, where burning anti-migration sentiment has played into ugly scenes of coast guards' setting some migrants adrift while standing by as hundreds of others drown.

It is in countries such as Tunisia, which has overtaken Libya as the main crossing point for Africans and others dreaming of Europe, that European leaders hope to contain the problem.

But critics of the deal say they have only outsourced the ugliness.

The World Students Society thanks author Vivian Yee.


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