To continue responding to the humanitarian needs triggered by the conflict in Libya, the European Commission increased its aid by €20 million today. This brings to €70 million the Commission's support to the civilians affected by this crisis, and boosts the overall humanitarian response of the European Union to almost €125 million.
"Europe's solidarity has been in action since the outset of turmoil in Libya. We will continue to relieve the plight of the affected men, women and children," Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said following the adoption of the new financing decision. She added: "While we have repatriated and brought humanitarian relief to many thousands people, our greatest challenge is still to gain access to the areas closed off from the humanitarian organisations. Humanitarian access to Misrata has gradually improved, but I worry about the civilians in the Nafusa mountains, where they are caught in heavy fighting. I appeal to all parties to heed the call of UN OCHA for a humanitarian pause in fighting and to let humanitarian workers access the people who need their help."
The €20 million will be added to the €40 million already disbursed through the Commission's humanitarian aid instrument. Another €10 million has been allocated from the civil protection instrument. The extra funding will be used to assist the vulnerable groups affected by the conflict: internally displaced persons (IDPs), third country nationals and Libyan refugees in neighbouring countries. The new financing will also boost the Commission's support for the repatriation and evacuation of third country nationals, and will provide shelter, food assistance, water, sanitation, emergency healthcare, protection, demining, and coordination support.
The boost in EU humanitarian assistance comes a day after Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Commission Vice President, opened an EU Office in Benghazi.