Britain Pledges Aid To Libya As Humanitarian Crisis Deepens
PRESS ASSOCIATION -- Britain is providing millions of pounds in emergency aid for Libya amid fears of a humanitarian disaster following the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi's regime.
Surgical teams and medicines will be laid on to help up to 5,000 wounded, as well as food and household essentials for almost 690,000 people.
The £3 million support - to be channelled through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) - comes amid reports of harrowing conditions in Tripoli.
Dozens of decomposing bodies were found piled up in the abandoned Abu Salim hospital, including 21 in one room.
There is no running water and little electricity for the city's two million people.
Mahmoud Shammam, of the National Transitional Council (NTC), told a news conference in Tripoli that fuel supplies had arrived, and water and medicine were being delivered by sea from Misrata.
"We have 30,000 tonnes of gasoline," Mr Shammam said. "We'll start to distribute it to the public starting today. We have diesel fuel (which) will be arriving tomorrow, to support the electricity (power stations)," he said.
"Also, we are going to provide within two days the gas for cooking. And we are working hard to reactivate Zawiya refinery."
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said humanitarian agencies were doing "extraordinary" work while putting their own lives on the line in Libya.
"As the conflict moves into its final stages there are many Libyans in need of urgent humanitarian help," he said.
"The situation on the ground in Tripoli is an incredibly difficult one for humanitarian agencies.
"But organisations such as the ICRC are doing extraordinary work in dangerous and difficult circumstances to get supplies and doctors through to those in need.
"This new funding from our development budget will help them to continue their vital work in critical areas across Libya."
Rebel forces are now believed to have control of virtually all Tripoli, with resistance petering out.
However, there is still no sign of Gaddafi himself and fierce fighting has been continuing in other parts of the country.
An advance on the former dictator's home town of Sirte is said to have been halted outside the oil port of Ras Lanuf.
Nato planes carried out strikes in the area overnight, targeting heavy artillery, armoured vehicles and bunkers.
Representatives from the NTC have been holding talks with the town's community leaders amid fears that any attempt to take it by force could result in a civilian bloodbath.