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European Commission - Press release

Libya: EU geared up for the humanitarian challenge

Brussels, 24 August 2011 - Following the dramatic events in Libya with the speedy progress of National Transition Council troops into Tripoli, the European Commission confirms that it is fully prepared to respond to humanitarian needs stemming from the fighting and its aftermath.

Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, said: "The Commission has been planning for this event for months now. We have prepositioned humanitarian stocks in the accessible zones of Libya and have coordinated all efforts with our humanitarian partners. We are ready. Europe will continue to help in an efficient and non-discriminatory way all Libyans who need humanitarian assistance".

The European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) will initially focus on support to the healthcare sector, notably the provision of war surgery and assistance to hospitals which are dealing with a probable large number of war-wounded and with the immediate emergency needs of the general population. Another priority will be protection, including education on demining and identification of risk areas allowing for the safe return of civilians. The Commission will also continue to fund the provision of relief to all vulnerable Libyans and to the refugees who have been trapped in the country by the violence of the last months.

Out of the €80 million which the European Commission has allocated to respond to the Libyan conflict, funding of €10 million was reserved to provide assistance once Tripoli and the coastal cities opened up for delivery of relief. Humanitarian stocks, particularly medical supplies, have been prepositioned by humanitarian partners in the East of the country and areas held by the opposition. This advance planning ensures that the Commission is now in a position to deliver aid swiftly and efficiently.

Throughout the crisis, the Commission has constantly coordinated its work through its experts on the ground and through its humanitarian partners which include the International Committee of the Red Cross, UN agencies and NGOs. This coordination can now ensure the rapid and effective scaling up and delivery of aid to all parts of Libya.

The European Union has repeatedly reiterated its commitment to deliver humanitarian assistance to all Libyans and people in need in an impartial and non-discriminatory manner. This commitment is evident in the fact that the EU is the largest donor in this emergency, with over 150 million worth of humanitarian aid.

Humanitarian aid is part of the wider package of assistance that the European Union is providing in response to the uprising in Libya. As the High Representative and Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton said on Tuesday, 23 August, the EU is committed to use all instruments at its disposal to play its full part in supporting the country's reconstruction and development.

BACKGROUND:

The European Commission's humanitarian response to the Libyan crisis:

Funding of €70 million (€ 60 million for humanitarian aid for the Libya crisis and € 10 million for the reintegration of Chadian migrants returning to Chad). This humanitarian funding has delivered:

  • Evacuation of 24,000 third country nationals (TCNs), including from Misrata, via the International Organisation for Migration, plus delivery of humanitarian assistance.

  • Provision of assistance to the people fleeing Libya (to Tunisia, Egypt) through humanitarian partners including the International Organisation for Migration, the UN High Commission for Refugees, International Federation of the Red Cross and the UN Organisation for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid

  • Support for the repatriation of TCNs to their country of origin

  • Assistance to people with refugee status who cannot go back to their home country and to Libyans fleeing Libya

  • Financing and prepositioning of emergency stocks to provide relief aid in Libya.

European Union's Civil Protection Response:

Activation of the European Civil Protection Mechanism through the EU Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC).

Two distinct operations were carried out through the Civil Protection Mechanism in relation to the Libyan crisis.

In the first days of the crisis, the MIC supported Member States' consular and evacuation operations in Libya, at the request of the Presidency and in agreement with the High Representative and Vice-President of the Commission. The MIC identified, facilitated and (in some cases) co-financed transport capacity, in support of the consular authorities of Member States. In result, around 5,800 Europeans were evacuated from Libya in a joint EU effort on an unprecedented scale: the Commission (MIC/ECHO), the EEAS (SitCen/EU Military Staff) and the Hungarian Presidency of the EU.

During March-May 2011 the EU Monitoring and Information Centre facilitated and coordinated the work of Member States to repatriate more than 31,700 TCNs from the countries neighbouring Libya (i.e. Tunisia, Egypt).

Of the 31 countries in the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, 11 provided aeroplanes and ships for the repatriation of TCNs from Tunisia: BE, BG, DE, EL, ES, FR, HU, IT, MT, SE, and UK. In-kind assistance was offered by nine Participating States (AT, DE, ES, FI, FR, IT, NO, SE, IE).

The amount of co-financing requested by the Participating States for transport operations was €10,574 084.

For further information:

Commissioner Georgieva's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/georgieva/hot_topics/libyan_crisis_en.htm

The European Commission's humanitarian aid:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm

Contacts :

David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)

Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)


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