Posted on Tue Apr 5, 2011 12:08 PM PDT
Angelina Jolie's visit to a Libyan refugee camp in Tunisia today caused a near riot as many of the almost 15,000 refugees there swarmed the actress.
Jolie was scheduled to visit a Red Cross camp during her visit to the region but when it was decided her security detail was not sufficient to protect her from the crowds at the Shusha camp today, further travel was canceled.
Our X17 photographer on the ground in Tunisia tells us: "The situation got a little scary. Angelina is the consummate professional and a true humanitarian and she wants to really get in touch with the people -- with the refugees. But when there are thousands of people swarming around, she has to realize it's not a safe situation. Her security detail had to get her out of there before the crowd got out of control. It's not that anyone would try to hurt her, it's just a matter of keeping under control so many people in such close quarters."
Angelina is now back in the capital, Tunis, preparing to board a flight back to Paris.
Almost 440,000 people have been displaced since mid-February after fleeing violence in Libya, finding shelter in neighboring countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, Niger, Algeria, Chad and Sudan. The Shusha camp houses some 15,000 refugees and Tunisia as a whole has received more than 200,000 Libyans.
"The outpouring of generosity from the Tunisian people says so much for the future of this country," said Jolie. "It is a sign of the openness sweeping across the region."
She also told reporters: "The international community has done well to reinforce Tunisia's remarkable relief effort. But with 2,000 people still crossing each day, we cannot let the funding dry up and need to sustain the momentum."
And Angelina's putting her money where her mouth is -- the Jolie-Pitt Foundation covered the costs for the flights of 177 people to return to their countries of origin and purchased an ambulance to help support Tunisian efforts on the border, to assist the injured arriving from Libya.
The UNCHR's own report told of the risk Jolie was taking to visit the region, reporting that the actress was told of heavy fighting inside Tunisia just before her trip. She listened to stories of checkpoints, harassment and assaults, which led her to appeal to the international community for urgent assistance including food and medical supplies.
"We would encourage others, individuals and governments, to continue to support and assist with the needs on the ground," said Jolie.
Do what YOU can to support this aid effort by donating to the UNHCR by clicking HERE.
SEE THE GALLERY Angelina Jolie Overwhelmed At Refugee Camp
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