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No request for assistance from OCHA to the EU, for the moment (Update)

Camp in Tunisia on the Libyan border. (UN/IRIN Kate Thomas)

(BRUSSELS2) According to the latest information collected, the United Nations Coordination Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has, for the moment, transmitted no request for assistance to the European Union (as to NATO ) moreover to benefit from military means capable of supporting humanitarian aid. EUFOR Libya therefore remains on standby… A meeting is currently taking place in Cairo to take stock of the situation.

"If needs exist, they can be covered by civilian means or NGOs“, we estimate at the organization. And the use of military means should be considered a last resort. Clearly at OCHA – which expresses not only the will of the United Nations but also that of the NGOs present on site – we consider that the risk is great of “see the independence of humanitarian organizations called into question”. "We could be seen as the after-sales service of a political-military operation” says one of its managers. “Risk all the greater since it is often the same States which participate in the military operation which could participate in the humanitarian operation".

However, this does not prevent “any State that so wishes, to carry out its own actions, bilaterally or individually” as the Turks did recently in Misrata to lead. “We cannot stop anyone from taking action. The important thing is to notify us of this action, to be informed of it, in order to be able to coordinate the efforts of the international community.".

(Updated 22 p.m.) OCHA, however, called “sound the alarm” on Wednesday on the humanitarian situation in Libya. While “the fighting continues in Libya, the humanitarian community is extremely worried about the protection of civilians”. Because “the humanitarian situation in the areas most affected by the conflict continues to deteriorate,” the organization said in a press release on Wednesday. “There is an urgent need for more access and humanitarian response, intervention in the conflict zones in northwest Libya and particularly in Misrata.” The number of people who have fled Libya now stands at nearly 450.000. Around 13.500 people remain stuck on Libya's borders with Tunisia, Egypt, Niger and Algeria.

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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).