19 April 2011
As fighting in Libya continues, international aid from the Red Cross is reaching some of the most dangerous areas.
Yesterday (18 April), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Libyan Red Crescent evacuated nearly 620 foreign nationals by sea from the city of Misrata, in western Libya.
"These people had been stranded in dire conditions for several weeks, without proper shelter or sanitation. They had to cope with poor hygiene and were exposed to danger owing to the fighting in the city," explained Javier Cepero García, an ICRC delegate leading the evacuation mission. The ICRC decided to help evacuate the foreign nationals after visiting Misrata for the first time last week.
"The ICRC is concerned about the situation of thousands of people in Misrata," said Javier Cepero García.
More help on the way
The ICRC is sending in another ship with medical supplies, hygiene kits, food items and 8,000 litres of drinking water, which should arrive in Misrata tomorrow (20 April).
ICRC and Libyan Red Crescent personnel will be on board to deliver medical supplies to Al Hikma hospital and the Libyan Red Crescent hospital, visit detainees and assess water supply systems and weapon contamination in the area.
The Turkish Red Crescent is also sending an aid ship with food and generators.
Thousands of people have been displaced to the eastern towns of Tobruk, Daran, Al Beyda and Al Marj. On 14 April, the ICRC started distributing food and other items to 18,000 people in those towns, in co-operation with the Libyan Red Crescent, the municipal councils and the Committee for Humanitarian Aid and Relief.
The ICRC has also provided the General Electricity Company of Libya and the Benghazi Water and Sewage Authority with basic supplies needed to repair the low-tension electricity network and the water network so thousands of people will continue to have water and electricity.
Help for refugees in Egypt and Tunisia
According to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), nearly 534,000 people have fled Libya since January, most escaping across the borders into Egypt and Tunisia.
The ICRC continues to work with the Egyptian Red Crescent, which is in charge of distributing the bulk of the food and water to those stranded along the border.
Since the onset of this crisis, the ICRC has helped 1,600 people on the Egyptian border call their families. The ICRC has also been helping thousands of people who are neither Egyptian nor Libyan without valid travel documents obtain the papers needed to be repatriated.
In Tunisia, the British Red Cross has logistics and hygiene specialists getting aid to thousands of refugees along the border. The Red Cross and Tunisian Red Crescent have distributed over 38,300 kits containing household essentials – such as blankets, jerry cans and soap. The Red Cross has also helped make 40,000 phone calls between worried family members.
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