Australian Government funding for Red Cross to help meet humanitarian needs in Libya

Media release: Dr Craig Emerson, Minister for Trade and Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs

1 September 2011

Australia is helping to meet the continuing medical, food and water needs of the Libyan people as the conflict reaches its final stages.

Acting Foreign Minister Craig Emerson will announce an additional contribution of $4.6 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) at an international meeting on Libya being held in Paris this evening.

The money has been assigned from Australia's existing aid budget.

Australia is the third-largest donor to the humanitarian effort in Libya. The latest tranche of aid this will bring Australia's total assistance to the crisis to $41.1 million.

“With this assistance, the Red Cross will provide urgent medical assistance in conflict areas, as well as food and water in Tripoli,” Dr Emerson said.

“It will also contribute to the removal of explosive ordnance and unexploded devices from civilian areas so people can return home safely,” he added.

The Red Cross funding comes on top of support for Libyan students studying in Australia announced today.

Dr Emerson said the Australian Government had responded promptly to the crisis in Libya, providing funding to United Nations agencies and other international humanitarian organisations.

“Australian funding has enabled food, shelter, water and medical care to be delivered quickly to those in need,” Dr Emerson said.

“Australia also supported the sea evacuation of more than 2,000 people from Misrata by the International Organization for Migration in May, when the city was being shelled.

“Australia's assistance helped innocent civilians escape the heavy fighting,” he said.

Australia contributed an Australian Civilian Corps stabilisation specialist to the UK-led planning mission to Libya in May.

It has also deployed six RedR humanitarian experts to the region to support UN organisations in Tunisia and Egypt to manage and coordinate the international response.

Media enquiries

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