EU pledges funds to help evacuation efforts from Libya's Misurata
The European Union's executive on Wednesday pledged 10 million euros (15 million dollars) to help migrant workers escape from war-torn Libya, particularly from the besieged Misurata, dpa reported.
The town has been encircled by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi for seven weeks, and international aid agencies have warned of a looming humanitarian crisis there.
"Every passing day sees foreigners fleeing the continuous fighting in Libya and stranded at the borders of neighbouring countries. The best humanitarian service we can provide is to bring them quickly and safely back home," EU humanitarian aid commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement.
Wednesday's announcement brought total EU aid for the evacuation of people from Libya and support for refugees camps in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt to 96 million euros, the commission said.
According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), as of Monday, over 501,000 people had crossed from Libya into neighbouring countries, mostly in Tunisia and Egypt.
The UNHCR also said that the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Valerie Amos, had written to EU and NATO leaders to say that the humanitarian community would like to continue sending aid to Misurata "without military escort."
The EU has offered to launch a military mission to support delivery of aid, but stressed it would only deployed if OCHA asked for it.