Survivors Assistance Network – advice on referrals relating to the incident in Sousse, Tunisia

July 1, 2015 | Nick Taylor

A terrorist attack took place at Port El Kantaoui near Sousse, Tunisia on 26 June. A number of tourists were killed, including British nationals. This notice sets out the arrangements to support those people affected and is current at the date of publication.

The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace manages the national Survivors Assistance Network (SAN). SAN is a social, health and welfare self-help membership network for people affected by terrorism. It brings together those who share the same experience and trauma and provides a self-help forum and way to assist each other.

The network offers a series of structured interventions that aims to share information and experience, and encourages self-help and thus reduces the severity of treatment resistant post-traumatic stress and improves recovery time, enabling people to find a way to cope and recover.

Referrals to SAN – expected timescale

SAN is funded by grant agreement with the Ministry of Justice. SAN provides medium term support and following discussions with the MoJ is expected to receive referrals from a period two months after the incident (September 2015).

The following arrangements are in place now (1st July 2015):

A reinforced British Embassy team is providing consular assistance to British nationals and a Foreign Office crisis team is in place. If you are in the area you should keep in touch with your tour operator and follow any advice from Tunisian security authorities. Further terrorist attacks are likely, including in tourist resorts, and by individuals unknown to the authorities, whose actions may be inspired by terrorist groups via social media. You should be especially vigilant at this time and follow the advice of Tunisian security authorities and your tour operator.

The team of consular staff are complemented by Police and British Red Red Cross experts. There are now over 50 people on the ground helping British victims and their families.

To help the wounded, a team of military medical liaison officers are deployed to assist with medical evacuations.

The team are helping the Tunisians with what is, in some cases, a very difficult identification process.

The Royal Air Force is undertaking the repatriation of all deceased British nationals whose families wish them to do so – as soon as the identification processes are complete.

There are 60 family liaison officers back here in Britain continuing to support the relatives of those killed and injured.

The authorities are working with tour operators to ensure those who want to come home can do so – 380 counter terrorism and local officers have been at British airports to meet and support travellers returning home from Tunisia – including helping to gather evidence of what happened. The national policing response is to be one of the largest counter terrorism deployments in a decade.

Travel advice continues to make clear the high threat from terrorism in the country, but the Government are not moving to the position of advising against all but essential travel to this part of Tunisia, and so they are not advising against visiting the popular coastal resorts.

Nowhere is without risk from extremist terrorists. Here in the UK the threat level remains at severe, meaning a terrorist attack is highly likely.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:

the Chaambi Mountain National Park area
the Tunisia-Algeria border crossing points at Ghardimaou, Hazoua and Sakiet Sidi Youssef
the militarized zone south of, but not including, the towns of El Borma and Dhehiba
within 5km of the Libya border area from north of Dhehiba up to but not including the Ras Ajdir border crossing

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

areas south of, and including, the towns of Nefta, Douz, Médenine, Zarzis (including the Tunisia-Libya border crossing point at Ras Ajdir)
within 30km of the border with Algeria south of, and including, the town of Jendouba (this area includes the archaeological sites of Bulla Regia and Chemtou)
the governorate of Kasserine, including the town of Sbeitla
If you travel to the interior of Tunisia, you should do so with a reputable tour guide.

424,707 British nationals visited Tunisia in 2014. Most British tourists stay in the coastal resorts and most visits are trouble free.

The Survivors Assistance Network will announce when it is open for referrals.