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European Commission - Press release
The European Commission raises alarm for the regional dimension of Libya's crisis and calls for humanitarian mobilisation in Chad
Brussels, 30 May 2011 - Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, calls for more international attention to the immediate impact and long-term consequences of the ongoing Libyan conflict on the vulnerable neighbouring countries, particularly Chad and Niger. The Commission's humanitarian experts have conducted in the past days several assessment missions at the border with Chad, where the spill-over of the Libyan crisis is especially alarming. In addition to the mobilisation of humanitarian organisations, today the Commission allocated €10 million in humanitarian aid to Chadians afflicted by the crisis in Libya.
Commissioner Georgieva said: "As the international media focus on the emergency inside Libya and alongside the borders with Tunisia and Egypt, let us not forget the plight of the Chadians, who were targeted as enemies by both the regime and the rebels, and who have tried to flee Libya, only to find themselves stuck at its border with no access to food, water, shelter and care. Our experts who visited the area have reported that the situation is alarming. We have taken immediate action by mobilising partner humanitarian organisations and by allocating €10 million for urgent assistance. We keep on monitoring closely the developments on the other borders of Libya as well".
She added: "Three months into this conflict, I am increasingly concerned by the deterioration of humanitarian conditions. I reiterate our urgent call to all parties in Libya to facilitate the access of humanitarian organisations and let them operate throughout the country and provide assistance in a neutral and impartial manner to all affected people, whatever their nationalities".
Around 40,000 Chadian workers, who were trying to flee Libya after the eruption of violence, are stranded at the border with their home country. They await evacuation in dire conditions and need humanitarian aid. Needs are equally acute across the border in northern Chad. Earlier in May, experts of the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) visited the area, where they diagnosed a fast-growing humanitarian emergency: local communities are flooded with returnees, and unable to cope with the sharp rise in the demand for food, water and other resources.
In response to the emergency, the Commission is sending a new expert mission to the region, to assess the evolution of needs, coordinate with other international actors and ensure that commensurate relief can be provided. Furthermore, the Commission has just made available €10 million, which will cover the initial needs of food, water, medical assistance and protection for the returnees, and will seek to improve transport and transit conditions to their places of origin.
One example of the humanitarian impact of the Libyan crisis on northern Chad is the small town of Faya-Largeau, lying on a main route through which Chadian returnees flow in from Libya. Faya (population: around 14,000) has had to cope with at least 19,000 returnees in the past three months. The local hospital has been overwhelmed with sick and exhausted returnees.
Most Chadian returnees from Libya are poor and vulnerable, and are returning to poor and vulnerable regions – most notably, the Sahel belt, where an estimated 1.6 million people have barely enough to eat.
The crisis in Libya has long-term implications for Chad, a poor, food-deficit country, which ranks 163rd out of 169 countries in the 2010 UNDP Human Development Index. Remittances from migrant workers in Libya have been drastically reduced, trade has been disrupted and households' sustenance is at risk.
The European Commission continues to respond consistently to all humanitarian aspects of the Libyan crisis. On 23 May, the Commission increased its humanitarian aid to €70 million, boosting the overall humanitarian response of the European Union to the needs of civilians affected by the conflict to €125 million.
For more information:
Commissioner Georgieva's website:
The European Commission's humanitarian aid: