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EU Says Red Crescent in Libyan Aid Effort Overstretched

by Kathy Jones on February 25, 2011 at 9:52 PM
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 EU Says Red Crescent in Libyan Aid Effort Overstretched

EU's Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva has said that 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.

"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.

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"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.
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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."

Source: AFP
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