U.S. Providing $30M For Situation In Libya As U.N. Appeals For $160M For Humanitarian Needs

The U.S. will provide an additional $15 million to relief groups helping people who are stuck or fleeing the unrest in Libya, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said on Monday, Sapa-Agence France-Presse/Times LIVE reports (3/8).

Crowley said that President Barack Obama “has approved $15 million in emergency funds … to deal with the humanitarian needs of Libya. The 15 million will go to support ongoing activities of the International Organization for Migration, the UNHCR, the High Commissioner for Refugees, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross. This is in addition to the $15 million that we’ve already committed. Ten million of that was for USAID and five million for IOM,” according to a State Department transcript of Monday’s daily press briefing (3/7).  

Also on Monday, the U.N. launched a $160 million appeal “to cover the needs of those who have fled Libya as well as others who remained trapped in the strife-torn north African country,” AFP reports (3/7). “The appeal will help fund the current and planned activities of 17 aid groups in assisting people … for the next three months, covering areas such as food security, nutrition, health care, water and sanitation and shelter,” the U.N. News Centre writes (3/7).  

“This appeal is based on planning scenario projecting up to 400,000 people leaving Libya – including the 200,000 who have left to date – and another 600,000 people inside Libya expected to need humanitarian aid to varying degrees,” Valerie Amos, under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, said, according to AFP. “I hope that this appeal receives a favorable response from donors, which will enable us to continue to support those in need,” she added (3/7).

Amos said more than one million people were in need of aid as a result of the situation in Libya, Reuters reports. “Humanitarian organizations need urgent access now,” Amos said after a weekend trip to areas in Tunisia along the Libyan border. “People are injured and dying and need help immediately,” according to Amos.

On Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa had agreed in a telephone call to allow the U.N. to immediately send an aid team to Tripoli. “But U.N. officials in Geneva indicated that there was no immediate move in that direction,” the news service reports. In a statement, Amos called for “authorities to provide access without delay to allow aid workers to help save lives.”

According to a situation report from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Ban appointed Abdelilah al-Khatib, a former foreign minister from Jordan, as a special envoy to Tripoli. The report said Khatib “will undertake immediate consultations with the authorities in Tripoli and in the region on the immediate humanitarian situation and the wider dimensions of the crisis” (Evans, 3/7).

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