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European Commission - Press release

EU releases emergency funds for humanitarian assistance to Libya

Brussels, 22 December 2014

The European Commission is giving €2 million in emergency funding to assist scores of Libyans who have been forced to flee their homes because of worsening violence in the country.    

The funding will provide essential humanitarian assistance and protection to the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict. It will be used to provide food, shelter, medical assistance and psycho-social support. The approaching winter will also increase the need for warm clothing, heaters and insulated shelter.

It is clear that there are huge needs and the emergency aid we are providing can be a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable families caught up in the conflict," said the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.  

The fighting has had a severe impact on the lives of civilians, with houses and infrastructure destroyed, basic services severely disrupted and shortages of medical supplies. People forced to leave areas of conflict are finding it hard to access food and basic needs – which is why the aid we are providing now is so crucial.”

It is estimated that nearly 400000 people have been displaced due to fighting in Libya since May this year. The country’s political crisis has continued to deepen, despite repeated calls for a ceasefire. Clashes have occurred in both the east and west of the country, spreading to the south in October and November.

The worsening security situation has hampered humanitarian access.Most international aid workers have left the country, leaving local personnel to cope with an increased workload and a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian environment.


Background

Libya’s security situation has seriously deteriorated over the last four months and remains highly volatile. Since the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, no central government has been able to take charge and the country has been plagued by instability and infighting.

Intense violence in Tripoli, Benghazi and other Libyan cities in recent months has resulted in grave violations of human rights abuses, including indiscriminate attacks against civilians and the forced displacement of around 290 000 people within the country and around 100000 more forced to flee into neighbouring countries.

The Ministry of Health has warned of the need to prevent a collapse in the health system after thousands of foreign health workers were evacuated from the country.  

Food supplies in Tripoli, parts of Benghazi and other reception towns are facing problems because stocks are low, banks are closed and cash has become a rare commodity. There are also concerns about ensuring water supplies and electricity.

The constraints on humanitarian access mean that it is difficult to accurately assess the numbers of displaced and in need of assistance.


For more information

The European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:

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

IP/14/2841

Press contacts

Irina NOVAKOVA (+ 32 2 295 75 17)
Catherine RAY (+32 2 296 99 21)

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