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29-09-2022 | Edited News

Hard Choices - Tunisia News Edit 29 September 2022

ENG

STORY: Hard Choices: Tunisia (News Edit - Short)

TRT: 1 mins 57s

SOURCE: UNTV CH

RESTRICTIONS: NONE

LANGUAGE: ARABIC (Channel 1) ENGLISH (Channel 2)/NATS

ASPECT RATIO: 16:9

DATELINE: Various + 29 September 2022 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

 

SHOTLIST 

  1. Wide, street view, travelling, cars and passers-by, Kairouan.
  2. Wide, travelling, open-air market.
  3. SOUNDBITE (ARABIC/ENGLISH) Woman buying tomatoes (8 September 2022): “What can I say? The prices are going up! Poor people can no longer afford anything. It is like the world is on fire.”
  4. Medium, tomatoes piled up on outdoor stall, weighing scales and price written on piece of card.
  5. SOUNDBITE (ARABIC/ENGLISH) Woman at market: (8 September 2022): “There is no sugar, I have to take a taxi very far away to buy one kilogramme of sugar.”
  6. Medium, half-empty shelves in wholesaler’s.
  7. SOUNDBITE (ARABIC/ENGLISH) Woman buying tomatoes: “He said, ‘Make migration easier across the sea.’ He wants to drown!
  8. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) Safa Msehli, spokesperson, International Organization for Migration (28 September 2022): “I think what the crisis in Ukraine has brought up again is the hard choices that people have to make on a daily basis, because people forced to flee their homes, people forced to flee their country, are not taking that decision lightly.”
  9. Medium, almost empty storage cupboard at wholesaler’s.
  10. Medium, rationing leaflet in supermarket.
  11. SOUNDBITE (ARABIC/ENGLISH) Grocery store owner Samia Zwabi at wholesaler’s: (5 September 2022): “We can’t work. We are working at half capacity; when a client comes, he can’t get all the basics. Clients ask for something I don’t have. We have no options. We need to be able to work to feed our kids.”
  12. Wide, wholesaler’s depot, delivery van parked outside.
  13. Wide, storage room at wholesaler’s, half-empty.
  14. Medium-wide, wholesaler’s storeroom stacked with tinned tomatoes to one side and a customer to rear.
  15. SOUNDBITE (ARABIC/ENGLISH) Grocery store owner Samia Zwabi at wholesaler’s: (5 September 2022): “I reached a situation where I borrow money or buy on credit to get staple foods, sometimes I can’t afford it when I don’t have money.”
  16. Medium, baker arranging baguettes in shop.
  17. SOUNDBITE (ARABIC/ENGLISH) Baker Mohamed Lounissi: (6 September 2022): “For us, it’s a big problem, if I order eight tonnes, they only give me one. They say you need to wait and then when I tell them I can’t work and I might close, they say, ‘Okay, close, it is not our business!‘”
  18. Close, broken beer bottles set into a wall, Tunis to rear comes into focus.
  19. Wide, view of Tunis by the sea, falling-down fence in front of shot.

 

Empty shelves and rising prices linked to Ukraine crisis push many Tunisians to the brink

For many Tunisians, shortages of essential foods, fuel and key farming products linked to the war in Ukraine have tested them to the limit, they’ve been telling UN News.

“There is no sugar, I have to take a taxi very far away to buy one kilogramme of sugar,” one woman explains in anger, at a market in Kairouan.

“The prices are going up! Poor people can no longer afford anything. It is like the world is on fire,” another woman explains, as she opens her purse to pay for a bagful of tomatoes, jumbled together on a wooden cart by the side of the road.

Nodding his head in agreement, the stallholder takes her money and makes an astonishing, if discreet, appeal. “Please, make it easier for us to migrate across the sea, so we can leave,” he says.

Although the elderly customer scoffs at the idea – “He wants to drown! He wants to drown!” – for many younger Tunisians, leaving the country in search of work and security is a frequent topic of conversation. This is despite the fact that many thousands of people have died trying to cross the Central Mediterranean Sea from North African nations to Europe on unsafe boats in recent years, and regular TV news reports that announce yet another missing person - or family - at sea.

“I think what the crisis in Ukraine has brought up again is the hard choices that people have to make on a daily basis, because people forced to flee their homes, people forced to flee their country, are not taking that decision lightly,” says Safa Msehli, spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

For many Tunisians, it remains a challenge to source basic staples, although more than 85,000 metric tonnes of Ukrainian wheat have arrived in Tunisian ports in the two months since the Black Sea Grain Initiative kicked into action, its Joint Coordination Centre in Odesa said on Thursday.

The agreement was described as a “beacon of hope” by UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the signing ceremony for the Black Sea Grain Initiative on 27 July in Istanbul, with representatives from Russian and Ukraine. Since 1 August, 240 vessels have sailed from Ukrainian ports with some 5.4 million metric tons of grain and other foodstuffs.

At a wholesaler’s on the outskirts of Tunis, grocery store owner Samia Zwabi knows all about the shortages and rising prices. She explains that she has to borrow money or buy goods on credit for her grocery store, assuming she can find them in the first place. Like many parents, the fact that it’s the start of the school year is an additional concern.

“We are working at half capacity,” says Samia Zwabi, who reels off a wishlist that includes milk, sugar, cooking oil and fruit juice. “When a client comes, he can’t get all the basics. Clients ask for something I don’t have. We have no options. We need to be able to work to feed our kids.”

From her modest single-storey home in Kairouan, Najwa Selmi supports her family making traditional handmade bread patties known as “tabouna”, twice in the morning and once in the evening. The process is laborious and time-consuming, a batch of eight flat rolls taking around 15 minutes to knock into shape from semolina flour, water, yeast and a drop of olive oil.

Once prepared, Najwa wets the surface of the soft patties and slaps them into the inside of a concrete oven that’s been stoked with firewood outside. She grimaces in pain as she removes them with her scorched hands, once she’s satisfied that they’re cooked.

The bread is delicious and Najwa has loyal customers, but it is not easy getting hold of a regular supply of flour, she tells us.

“My youngest daughter will start school soon and I haven’t bought her anything yet, no bag, no books, no school stationery, no clothes,” she says. “If for any reason I had to stop working …or if I got sick, we do not know what the future holds, my family will be hungry, what will they eat? From where will they get the money? We do not have another alternative source of income.”

In the bustling Tunis neighbourhood of Ettadhamen, bakery owner Mohamed Lounissi is open about the stresses and challenges of keeping his business open, thanks to chronic shortages of flour caused by the war in Ukraine. “For us, it’s a big problem, if I order eight tonnes, they only give me one tonne. They say you need to wait and then when I tell them I can’t work and I might close, they say, ‘Ok, close, it is not our business!‘”

ends


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