Similar to the World Food Program, the International Committee of the Red Cross has announced a “breakthrough” in efforts to reach violence-affected Libyan areas.

Last Thursday (April 7), a WFP ship carrying relief supplies arrived in Mistrata, where people, according to some aid groups, have been reportedly cut off from external assistance.

>> WFP Delivers Aid to Libya’s Misrata City

Two days later, a Red Cross ship with medical supplies docked in the Libyan port city.

“We are sending the ship to support Misrata’s main hospital, by delivering enough medical supplies to treat 300 patients with weapon injuries on the spot,” Jean-Michel Monod, head of the ICRC team in Tripoli, told the Guardian.

According to the British newspaper, ICRC and Libyan Red Crescent officials were heading to Zawiyah on Saturday (April 9) to perform an initial assessment of the humanitarian situation there, with a focus on health care.

Spain, meanwhile, said Friday it had dispatched 15 tons of relief items, including medical supplies, medicines, infant milk powder and baby food, for people affected by the crisis in Libya.

Germany ready to join Libyan aid mission

In what many observers see as an effort to mend fences with Western allies, Germany has announced it is prepared to lend it troops to a humanitarian mission that the European Union intends to send to Libya if requested by the United Nations, The New York Times notes.

>> EU Ready to Deploy Military for Libyan Humanitarian Efforts

On March 17, Germany abstained in the United Nations Security Council vote on a no-fly zone over Libya. A week later, it pulled out ships from the NATO command in the Mediterranean as the government did not want to see German forces get caught in the fighting.

“Germany felt the sting of isolation after the U.N. and NATO decision,” said Henning Riecke, a security expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin, as quoted by NYT. “By supporting the E.U.’s humanitarian mission, it could allow Germany back into the fold and have some influence, at least on the European level.”

The German Foreign Ministry has dismissed the notion of a change in policy.

“We always said we would provide humanitarian support,” said a ministry official who spoke to NYT on condition of anonymity.

Meetings on Libyan crisis this week

On Tuesday (April 12), United Nations Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe and the secretary-general’s special envoy for Libya, Abdel Elah al-Khatib, will attend the first meeting of the Libya Contact Group in Doha, Qatar, according to the U.N. News Center. Representatives from the United Nations Development Program and Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs will join both officials at the meeting.

Created at the London conference on Libya in March, the contact group aims to provide leadership and overall political direction to the international effort in the African country. 

>> International Leaders Set Up Group to Coordinate Libyan Crisis Response

Then on April 14, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will preside over a meeting of regional organizations concerning the international response to the Libyan crisis. The meeting at the Cairo headquarters of the League of Arab States will also involve Amre Moussa, the league’s secretary-general; Jean Ping, chairman of the Commission of the African Union; Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference; and Catherine Ashton, vice president and high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy.

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    Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.