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European Commission - Press release
Commissioner Georgieva makes a humanitarian appeal for protection of civilians in Sirte
Brussels, 07 October 2011 - Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva has called to respect international humanitarian law and allow civilians caught up in the conflict in Sirte to leave the Libyan city safely.
The Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response made her call after experts from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Directorate General (ECHO) in Libya confirmed that the situation in the besieged city is dire.
Commissioner Georgieva, said: "Our experts are warning that civilians are in grave danger as a consequence of the fight for control of Sirte".
"The situation is critical. Despite a steady movement of population out of the city, we believe that thousands remain and are being prevented from leaving. I strongly appeal not to use civilians as human shields, but to let them leave the city in safety. Once again, I urge that international humanitarian law is respected."
The humanitarian community has pre-positioned medical and essential supplies near the conflict in order to provide assistance once access is possible. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has entered Sirte with emergency supplies. Its representatives have witnessed a dramatic situation inside the city with acute shortages of food, water, medical supplies and fuel.
Funding of €3 million has been reserved by the Commission in order to respond to the needs triggered by the ongoing fighting as soon as access is possible.
The funding is for battlefield surgery, assistance to hospitals and other needs through the ICRC and the Commission's other humanitarian partners in the field.
The European Union is the largest provider of humanitarian assistance in the Libyan crisis, with a contribution of more than €154 million so far. More than €80.5 million of the total EU assistance is from the European Commission.
For more information
Commissioner Georgieva's website:
The European Commission's humanitarian aid: