Sweden offers aid for Libya refugee effort

Sweden offers aid for Libya refugee effort
Sweden said Friday it was contributing a C-130 Hercules military plane and 33 million kronor ($5.2 million) to the United Nations' efforts to evacuate refugees from Libya.

“The mission is to contribute to the evacuation of persons in distress at the Tunisian border,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Swedish military plane is currently in Malta where it landed after evacuating Swedish citizens from Libya.

Sweden said it was offering an extra 33 million kronor following appeals from aid organisations in the region, and that funds could go to the International Red Cross, the United Nations refugee agency and the United Nations’ children fund.

“Developments in Libya have resulted in a humanitarian crisis affecting hundreds of thousands of people,” Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson, said in a statment.

“Many people have tried to escape the regime’s violence against the civilian population, and this has created a critical situation at the borders, particularly in Tunisia, which may have a destabilising effect in the region. I am pleased that Sweden can provide concrete assistance to those affected.”

Fleeing the unrest in Libya, growing numbers of people have fled over the northwestern border into Tunisia, including Egyptians now stuck in refugee camps with little prospect of getting home.

Around 100,000 people have crossed the border into Tunisia since February 20, Tunisia’s regional Red Crescent representative said on Friday.

Britain is sending several planes to airlift thousands of Egyptians stuck in refugee camps, while France said it was sending a helicopter carrier to waters off Libya to help evacuate civilians.

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