Washington: The Obama administration, which has thus far provided USD 47 million in humanitarian aid to the Libyan people, has claimed that at least 550,000 people have fled Libya after the popular uprising against dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi.

"Some 550,000 people have fled Libya as of April 24. The nature of that population is slightly unusual from a typical humanitarian crisis in that most of the people who are leaving Libya are not actually nationals of Libya,” said said Reuben Brigety, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

"So what you have are people that are third-country nationals leaving a country that is not their home, going to another country that is not their home."

The USAID Director of Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance Mark Bartolini, said to date, the US has committed USD 47 million toward humanitarian assistance.

"There have been some optimistic changes over the last two or three days, but conditions continue to be difficult to assess in many areas due to security," he said.

Of the USD 47 million worth of assistance to Libya thus far: USD 13 million has been given to International Organization of Migration to support the humanitarian air evacuation; USD 10 million to World Food Program for various food operations; USD 7 million to UNHCR to support the camp populations, mostly in Tunisia and Egypt, of third-country migrants, USD 7 million to International Committee of the Red Cross and USD 10 million to support NGOs as needed.

Brigety said the UN Flash Appeal, as of today, is for USD 311 million to support humanitarian operations in and around Libya. Only 42 per cent of that has been met by the international community.

"The UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Assistance (UNOCHA) has consistently said that they do not see a need for military support for delivery of humanitarian assistance inside Libya at this point. They continue to ask for respect of the Oslo guidelines, which call for the use of military assistance only in a last resort," he said.

 

(Agencies)