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Red Crescent in Libyan aid effort overstretched: EU

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, February 24, 2011 21:04 EDT
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SOFIA – The Red Crescent, which is the only humanitarian aid organisation currently on the ground in Libya, is already overstretched and facing a severe shortage of medical supplies, EU’s Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said Thursday.

“What particularly worries us is that with the exception of the local organisation of the Red Crescent — which is already gasping for breath and cannot ensure enough medical services, especially in Benghazi — there are practically no other structures that could join the (humanitarian) action,” Georgieva told the Bulgarian national radio.

“What we hear is that there is need for medication, that the healthcare system is overpowered,” she added.

The Red Crescent has managed to mobilise only about 100 local volunteers working in Benghazi and even fewer in the capital Tripoli, Georgieva said.

The three very small UN representations in Libya — of the UNICEF children’s fund, the UN development programme and the World Health Organisation — lack any operating capacity to help any humanitarian effort, she said.

“So our only hope is to manage to help via the Red Crescent and the Red Cross as they stand the best chance in these hard circumstances,” Georgieva said.

The EU has also been trying to move its humanitarian aid workers over the Libyan border with Egypt, she added, warning of the imminence of a humanitarian crisis as the situation in Libya “grows more and more serious by the hour.”

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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