Libya: Will not spend emergency funds on refugees

October 15, 2011 15:37

TRIPOLI - Thousands of Libyans fleeing fighting in the besieged cities of Sirte and Bani Walid are straining the resources of struggling nearby towns, but the emergency relief fund set up by foreign donors says it is no longer its job to help.

The fund was set up in a Qatari account to circumvent sanctions in order to help the erstwhile rebels during the war against Muammar Gaddafi. It has swollen to more than half a billion US dollars, but only a fraction of the money donated, unfrozen or on loan has been spent.

The fund says it is no longer responsible for providing emergency cash and its current mandate is to invest in long-term projects, its manager Mazin Ramadan told Reuters. International aid organizations should tackle the humanitarian crisis, he said.

"We want to fund civil society in Libya, we need to do a better job of communicating that," Ramadan said. He said confusion had arisen because of the fund's early involvement in emergency activities, but it was now focusing on designing a programme to fund future non-governmental organisations based in Libya

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