Humanitarian Relief and Libya

Part of Bill Presented — Sustainable Energy (Local Plans) Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:04 pm on 5th April 2011.

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Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell The Secretary of State for International Development 2:04 pm, 5th April 2011

If my hon. Friend will allow me, I will come later to the importance of the EU’s role in the stabilisation work that lies ahead.

On top of what I have already described, we have given specific support to those who have fled over the border. Early intervention by Britain and other donors has prevented a logistical challenge from developing into a humanitarian crisis. Indeed, we were able to do rather better than originally anticipated, with British taxpayers funding more than 12,700 repatriations, 6,700 of which we handled directly having chartered our own planes. That eased pressure on the transit camps and helped migrant workers to return to their own countries and their families. We have also supplied three logistics experts to assist with movements from the border, along with tents for 10,000 people and 38,000 blankets to help those whom I saw on the border shivering in the early morning cold.

Early on in the emergency, I visited the camp on the Tunisian border at Ras Ajdir and met some of the displaced migrant workers who have been leaving Libya in their thousands. What I saw and heard underlined the urgency and real human impact of the situation in Libya. I wish to record today the Government’s admiration of the many hundreds of Tunisian families who, of their own accord, donated food, water, clothing and other supplies to the people who were fleeing from Libya. Those selfless and spontaneous acts of generosity are a touching and inspiring example of the very best of human nature.