Unrest in Libya: Switzerland dispatches humanitarian teams

Bern, Press release, 03.05.2011

In agreement with the Egyptian and with the Tunisian authorities, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) has dispatched one humanitarian aid team to the Egyptian border with Libya and another to the Tunisian border with Libya. Their primary tasks are to clarify needs on the ground and to initiate emergency relief measures.

Numerous people fleeing the unrest and violence in Libya are arriving in Egypt and in Tunisia utterly exhausted and are in need of assistance. Switzerland desires to make its contribution to relieve their suffering.  

On the weekend, two Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) were dispatched to Egypt and Tunisia. These teams of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA), composed of four and two members respectively, will be deployed in these two countries’ border regions with Libya. Their mission is to clarify the needs of the people on site, to initiate emergency relief measures in cooperation with the authorities and partner organizations, and to examine the transportation channels and the structures available for the distribution of humanitarian aid. 

Although the humanitarian situation in Libya and the border regions is precarious, an overall assessment of conditions is still difficult to make. In addition to the RRTs, the FDFA has also sent a SHA specialist to reinforce each of the Swiss Embassies in Tunis and Cairo. Their task is to report on the humanitarian needs, establish the options for humanitarian cooperation with partner organizations, and to ensure coordination with other donors.  

The FDFA has furthermore decided to support the activities of the ICRC in the domain of emergency medical supplies required by the events in Libya with a contribution of CHF 500,000. An examination of the possibility of fostering humanitarian aid by financing still other relief operations of multilateral partners is currently underway.

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: (+41) 031 322 31 53
Fax: (+41) 031 324 90 47
E-Mail: info@eda.admin.ch


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs