Hassan Abdel Al, a 40-year old accountant at a pharmaceutical company in Libya, is one of thousands of Egyptian workers who returned to Egypt from Libya.
"I left Tripoli on February 26th, and it took me two days to reach al-Salloum after I had paid a lot of money to young Libyans to take me and my family to the border," he told Al-Shorfa.
Abdel Al described the situation in Tripoli when he left as "fuzzy and mysterious, especially with the interruption of means of communication, both telephone lines and the Internet".
The continuing crisis in Libya led an estimated 100,000 Egyptians to return home, with many more turned into refugees stranded at border crossings.
Egyptians form the largest foreign community in Libya, estimated at 1.5 million people. They held jobs in cities throughout Libya.
Ambassador Mohammed Abdel Hakam, Assistant Foreign Minister for Consular Affairs and Egyptians Abroad, announced at a press conference on Thursday (March 3rd), that more than 100,000 Egyptians returned from Libya to Egypt via al-Salloum Border Crossing or Cairo Airport, in addition to more than 20,000 foreign nationals.
On Wednesday, Abdel Hakam said that Egyptian working groups at the Tunisian and Libyan borders and at Tripoli Airport are helping issue travel documents for Egyptians who lost their identification papers.
Majeed Abdul Fattah, co-ordinator of the emergency room established by the Ministry of Transportation when the crisis began, told Al-Shorfa, "There is co-ordination between the ministry and the military council to ensure the availability of all needed supplies for returnees and to ensure their transition from al-Salloum into Egyptian territory."
He added, "The negotiations are currently under way with European countries, led by France, to help evacuate Egyptians trapped in some Libyan cities who face great difficulty when they try to reach the Libyan-Egyptian borders or the Libyan-Tunisian borders."
Abdul Fattah said about 100,000 Egyptians have been transported via al-Salloum. More than 400 buses and four trains were provided to transport them. The Ministry of Transportation and the Egyptian armed forces co-ordinated evacuation efforts.
He added, "The big challenge is to secure transport for Egyptians who are trapped on the border with Tunisia," indicating that Tunisian authorities are helping Egyptians who are attempting to leave.
As thousands of refugees fled or are trying to flee Libya, the international community began offering humanitarian aid to those stranded on the Libyan borders with Egypt and Tunisia.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) dispatched two military planes on Friday (March 5th) to Djerba, Tunisia, bringing supplies to tens of thousands of refugees who fled Libya to Tunisia.
An international effort, led by the United States, France, Germany and several other countries and international organisations, will focus on bringing thousands of refugees home, including Egyptians returning to their home country.
The UN's International Organisation for Migration (IOM) began evacuating an estimated 5,500 migrants from Benghazi on Thursday. The IOM cargo plane made two round trips to Cairo on Thursday with a French medical team aboard.
Germany is sending three naval ships to ferry 4,000 refugees while Spain rented a plane, filled it with humanitarian aid and sent it to transport Egyptians who are fleeing Libya.
CNN quoted a Tunisian official as saying that France will fly chartered planed between Djerba and Cairo six times a day for a week.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry made a formal request on March 2nd to the US Department of State for US assistance in transporting Egyptian nationals from Tunisia, according to US defence officials. On Thursday, US President Barak Obama approved the use of both military and chartered planes to return Egyptians who fled to Tunisia and "to help people from other countries find their way home".
Mueen Badreddine, professor of social studies at Ain Shams University said, "It is impossible to separate the Libyan territories from Egypt at this time because many people in both countries have strong blood ties which they have had for many years."
He added, "Psychologically, wartime brings people who are separated by land boundaries closer. It is natural to find considerable sympathy, and the desire to help on both sides. Libyans helped Egyptians cross back into their country, and Egyptians led humanitarian convoys that were carrying medicine and food to more than one area in Libya."
During his interview with Al-Shorfa, Abdel Al wondered whether Egyptian officials would be able to collect his money and dues that are being held by the company where he worked for 16 years.
Ismail Fahmi, the minister of manpower and emigration, said Wednesday that the Egyptian government will appeal for the money owed to Egyptian workers who fled once stability returns to Libya.
Fahmi said the ministry has already prepared two forms for returning Egyptians to fill out in order to preserve their financial entitlements and rights in Libya. The first form deals with the financial entitlements of returning workers and a second form lists property owned by Egyptian businessmen who were affected by recent events.
Asked about the effect the Libyan crisis will have on Egypt, Mahmoud Abdul Hadi, an Alexandria University economics professor who specialises in migration said, "The return of the Egyptians from Libya will be an additional burden on Egyptian society."
Abdul Hadi said the issue has two elements: the social problems in Egypt likely to result from higher unemployment, and lost remittances from Egyptian workers in Libya which is often the only source of a family's income and represents a significant part of market liquidity in Egypt.