Department for International Development
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British support for Misrata rescue effort reaches 5,000

British support has enabled the successful evacuation of over 600 poor migrant workers from Misrata, as well as civilians who were wounded during a two month siege of the city by Qadhafi’s forces, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell has confirmed. 

The evacuation, carried out by the International Organisation for Migration, also carried in 280 tons of food aid. Britain has now supported the rescue of around 5,000 migrant workers, wounded civilians and their families since mid-April, as well as the delivery of nearly 2,100 tons of essential humanitarian supplies into the city.

These life-saving actions by the UK have provided vital assistance to the people of Misrata. The ship also carried an assessment team made up of representatives from a number of humanitarian organisations, which will inform support to the people of Misrata to build their future.

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:

"A month ago, we promised we would help to get thousands of innocent civilians caught up in the fighting in Misrata back to safety. Today we make good on that promise, with British funding now having helped with the evacuation of around 5,000 people.

"As well as reaching poor migrant workers left in Misrata, this latest evacuation ensures that wounded civilians can receive much-needed medical help from facilities in Benghazi. The assessment team that arrived on the ship will also be able to get a better idea of needs as the city starts to rebuild itself and look towards the future."

The International Development Secretary also announced that the first ever international Stabilisation Response Team had arrived in Libya. The team of 11 stabilisation experts will assess what help the National Transitional Council (NTC) and the rest of Libya will need in the period ahead of a political settlement, with a view to supporting the UN’s post conflict planning.

The international Stabilisation Response Team will help inform a co-ordinated international response to interim stabilisation needs in the country. The team includes experts in areas such as economics, infrastructure, essential public services, security and justice systems and politics. The core team will be provided by Britain and will also include representatives from international partners including Italy and Denmark, with others set to join in the coming weeks including the EU.

For more information, please contact Chris Kiggell by email: c-kiggell@dfid.gov.uk or tel: 020 7023 0504 / 0600.

Notes to editors

The British Government was one of the first to provide vital humanitarian support to those affected by the conflict in Libya and will continue to do so. More than 746,000 people are estimated to have fled Libya since the conflict began. The UK has acted swiftly to help migrants trapped on the borders, those displaced by the fighting and vulnerable civilians caught up in the fighting.   The early action by the UK and others in providing emergency shelter supplies and flying people home from the border camps helped avoid a logistical problem from developing into a humanitarian crisis.

So far we have:

  • Funded the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is providing support for up to 100,000 people for basic necessities, and medical supplies and treatment to 3,000 people affected by the ongoing fighting
  • Supported the International Medical Corps to provide critical aid for those caught up in the violence across western Libya, including the deployment of trauma teams as well as providing medical supplies and surgical equipment. The teams will provide lifesaving care to more than 30 severely wounded people a day and essential healthcare to hundreds more
  • Helped nearly 5,000 poor migrant workers trapped in the besieged of Misrata leave for Benghazi through emergency evacuations carried out by the International Organisation for Migration
  • Helped fly more than 12,500 migrant workers trapped on the borders back to their countries and their families
  • Provided tents for 10,000 people and blankets for 38,000 people stuck at the borders, which can be potentially life saving during cold desert nights.

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