EU: humanitarian aid to Misurata disrupted by port shelling
The naval delivery of humanitarian aid to the under-siege Libyan city of Misurata has been "interrupted" because of sustained attacks on its port, the European Union's aid commissioner said Wednesday.
"The shelling ... over the past day has moved a volatile humanitarian situation from bad to worse," Kristalina Georgieva said. "The delivery of food, medical supplies and other relief items has been interrupted, and it is close to impossible for our humanitarian partners to evacuate the wounded and civilians by sea", dpa reported.
"I am very worried that the thin humanitarian lifeline that humanitarian partner organisations had managed to establish through the Misurata seaport will break due to the ongoing fierce fighting," she added.
The EU has offered a military mission to assist humanitarian aid efforts in Libya, but will not deploy it unless it is asked to do so by the United Nations - something that has yet to happen, to the frustration of some EU officials.
But British aid group Oxfam had warned last week about "blurring the lines between military operations and humanitarian work," saying that the EU should only deploy troops as "a last resort."
The regime of Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi, who has been fighting rebels for months, had recently given permission to the UN to send shipments of food, water and medical supplies to Misurata.
A senior EU diplomat said last week that the success of that operation would determine whether EU military assistance would be needed.
In the meantime, Georgieva said, the bloc wants "to continue providing humanitarian assistance ... in an impartial way, in the spirit of compassion and with the resources of our humanitarian partners."
"We stand ready to do more, but for our help to be meaningful, access to the people who need it is paramount," she noted.