Abu Dhabi,30th March, 2016 (WAM): A plane from the United Arab Emirates carrying relief supplies provided by the Emirates Red Crescent left here on 28th March, for Benghazi, Libya. It was carrying hundreds of packages of food, medicines, medical accessories and other supplies and is the first of nine aircrafts that are serving as a humanitarian bridge from the UAE to the people in Libya, now facing an increasingly desperate situation as essential supplies run out. It is the second such UAE-Libya air bridge since the crisis in the North African country began five years ago.

In a press conference held at its headquarters in Abu Dhabi today, Emirates Red Crescent officials said that the aid was being prepared and delivered in line with directives from the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to respond decisively to the worsening humanitarian situation in Libya. The aid programme has received full support from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and is being carried out under the guidance of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the Emirates Red Crescent.

ERC officials said at the press conference that the directives from HH the President were part of his consistent initiatives to alleviate the suffering of the people in Libya, where the delivery of even essential services has collapsed. They said that the ERC had now entered a new phase in its efforts to bring about tangible improvement in the humanitarian situation in Libya, particularly in some of the worse affected districts.

Addressing the press conference, Dr. Mohamed Ateeq Sultan Al-Falahi, the ERC Secretary General, said that the directives from the prudent leadership emanated from the strong bonds of brotherhood between the people of the UAE and Libya.

“This move is consistent with the UAE’s policy of extending support to friends and brothers in their hour of need. It reflects the country’s close follow-up on the developments in Libya. It could not have been timelier as the humanitarian situation in Libya has deteriorated drastically over the past few months,” he explained.

The current move is a continuation of the UAE’s consistent efforts to provide aid to Libya since the beginning of the crisis there five years ago. Earlier, in 2012, when the first UAE-Libya air bridge took place, the Red Crescent had helped Libyan refugees crossing over to neighbouring Tunisia at the peak of the crisis, setting up tented camps for refugees at the border, where health, educational and other support, including food and medical supplies was provided thousands of refugees.

The Emirates Red Crescent has also provided consistent support for Libyan health institutions to help them to overcome the challenges posed by the increasing number of people injured in the conflict and the limited resources and equipment. This support has included equipping hospitals and giving them medicines and other supplies, as well as donating ambulances and other necessary help. The ERC has also donated a large quantity of educational materials to Libyan schools.

WAM/tfaham