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Europe boosts its humanitarian aid in the Libyan crisis

To continue responding to the humanitarian needs triggered by the conflict in Libya, today the European Commission increased its aid by €20 million. This brings to €70 million the Commission's total assistance in this crisis. With the new decision, the overall humanitarian contribution of the European Union to the needs of civilians affected by the conflict reaches almost €125 million. The assistance boost 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.

Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, stated: "Europe's solidarity has been in action since the outset of turmoil in Libya. The EU will continue relentlessly to relieve the plight of the affected men, women and children." 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 community. 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 let humanitarian workers access the people there."

The new aid decision adds €20 million to the €40million already disbursed from 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 and protect the Libyan population affected by the fighting and vulnerable groups such as internally displaced persons (IDP's), third country nationals and Libyan refugees in neighbouring countries. Further, the aid decision will boost the Commission's support for the repatriation and evacuation of third country nationals, and will provide shelter, food assistance, water, sanitation, emergency health care, protection, demining, and coordination support.

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