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UK to aid evacuations out of Libya

The Government will help 5,000 people escape the besieged rebel-held town of Misrata and provide vital medical supplies to those caught up in violence across western Libya, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell has announced.

Speaking before talks with United Nations aid bodies in New York, Mr Mitchell said the emergency evacuations would aim to get foreign workers who had managed to reach Misrata docks safely out of the town.

The evacuations will be carried out by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Britain will also fund critical medical aid, to be provided by the International Medical Corps (IMC), for civilians in towns across western Libya.

Mr Mitchell said: "I am determined that Britain continues to provide help to those innocent civilians who are caught up in the ongoing violence.

"Thousands of foreign workers have managed to reach the port but find themselves at terrible risk from incoming fire, with no way to get out.

"These evacuations will take them to safety and help reduce the demand in Misrata for the very limited supplies of food, water and medical supplies available."

He added: "In conflict-affected areas across western Libya, there's a shortage of doctors - most have no training in war surgery - few nurses, overwhelmed staff, and weak or non-existent post-operative care.

"British support will mean medical supplies and highly-trained teams get into the worse-hit areas, which could mean the difference between life and death for many people."

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