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Libya: reinforcing contingency stocks is a priority

15-03-2011 News Release 11/58

Geneva/Benghazi (ICRC) – A cargo ship chartered by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), carrying 180 metric tonnes of food and other essential items, docked today at the port of Benghazi.

"Our current priority in Benghazi is to ensure that there is adequate capacity to respond to emergency situations," said Simon Brooks, the ICRC's head of mission in the city. "Even though it remains very difficult to predict the turn of events, it is of the utmost importance that we be prepared to help people who are counting on us."

The relief goods brought in by the ICRC include food items such as lentils, flour, oil and salt, along with blankets, cooking sets and personal hygiene items. The quantities are sufficient to cover the needs of up to 15,000 people for one month.

The ship arrived from Egypt. Its cargo was handed over to the Libyan Red Crescent, which will be in charge of distributing the items according to need.

With ICRC support, the Libyan Red Crescent has been caring for up to 200 African migrants, mainly Ethiopians and Eritreans, who remain in Benghazi. "The migrants, among whom are women and children, are largely dependent on whatever aid they can obtain," said Doha El Asmar, an ICRC delegate in Benghazi. "They are cut off from the outside world, and anxious because they are not sure what will happen to them. To help them cope, the ICRC has arranged for them to be able to contact their families."

ICRC staff have been working in Benghazi since 27 February in cooperation with the Libyan Red Crescent.

For further information, please contact:
Hicham Hassan (Arabic, English, French), ICRC Benghazi, tel: +218 92 339 4560 or +81 077 239 0115
Christian Cardon (English, French), ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 26 or +41 79 251 93 02

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