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Libya: ICRC launches emergency appeal as humanitarian situation deteriorates

25-02-2011 News Release

Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has launched a preliminary emergency appeal for 6 million Swiss francs ($6.4 million USD / €4.7 million) to meet the emergency needs of people affected by the violent unrest in Libya. Update: now includes link to video.

This initial appeal is intended to ensure adequate surgical and medical care for the wounded and emergency aid for people who have fled from Libya into neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt.

Working with the Tunisian and Egyptian Red Crescent Societies, the ICRC is also offering its services to people from the region and stranded foreigners who are urgently trying to contact their families.

"The reports we're getting indicate that the humanitarian situation inside Libya is worsening by the hour," said the ICRC's deputy director of operations, Dominik Stillhart. "We're very concerned about the growing number of people who are leaving their homes in search of safety and trying to cross the border."

Mr Stillhart said he was also worried about news that Libyan hospitals and clinics were struggling to cope with large numbers of wounded. In response to the deteriorating health situation, two planeloads of ICRC medical supplies were due to leave Geneva, Switzerland, on Friday night – one bound for Cairo and the other for Tunis. The ICRC plans to move these supplies into Libya by road as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, two emergency teams made up of ICRC, Norwegian and Finnish Red Cross medical staff are waiting in Egypt and Tunisia to enter Libya as soon as they get clearance from the authorities. Each team includes two surgeons, two nurses, an anaesthetist and other humanitarian specialists. They will be helping Libyan health staff to treat the wounded. The Libyan Red Crescent is providing blood supplies to hospitals inside the country, assessing the situation and paving the way for the ICRC to gain access to those in need.

For further information, please contact:
Mohamed Ben Ahmed (French, Arabic), ICRC Tunis, tel: +216 98 432 393
Biljana Milosevic (English), ICRC Tunis, tel: +216 20 33 62 38
Anna Nelson, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 20 63 or +41 79 217 3264

 

Watch our video of emergency supplies for Libya being loaded at Geneva Airport


Photos

Geneva Airport. As the sun sinks behind the Jura mountains, staff load emergency supplies onto one of the two aircraft that will shortly take off for Tunis and Cairo. 

Geneva Airport. As the sun sinks behind the Jura mountains, staff load emergency supplies onto one of the two aircraft that will shortly take off for Tunis and Cairo.
© ICRC / T. Gassmann / v-p-ch-e-00740
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Geneva Airport. Boxes of emergency supplies await loading onto the aircraft that will fly them to Cairo and Tunis, from where they will travel by road to Libya.
© ICRC / T. Gassmann / v-p-ch-e-00738
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Geneva Airport. Surgical gloves and other essential medical supplies are loaded onto aircraft for the flight to Tunis and Cairo. 

Geneva Airport. Surgical gloves and other essential medical supplies are loaded onto aircraft for the flight to Tunis and Cairo.
© ICRC / T. Gassmann / v-p-ch-e-00741
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Geneva Airport. Between them, the two aircraft will deliver enough medical supplies to treat 1200 patients on arrival in Libya. 

Geneva Airport. Between them, the two aircraft will deliver enough medical supplies to treat 1200 patients on arrival in Libya.
© ICRC / T. Gassmann / v-p-ch-e-00739
Download high resolution image