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Libya aid ship docks in Tripoli

The Al Entisar before departing from Malta on Thursday. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The Al Entisar before departing from Malta on Thursday. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

A ship operated by a Malta-based NGO docked in Tripoli yesterday to deliver much-needed medical and food supplies to the embattled Libyan capital.

Businessman Mario Debono, a spokesman for the Igo-Aid foundation, confirmed that the ship, Al Entisar, carrying 400 tonnes of food and 250 tonnes of medicine berthed in Tripoli’s main port at about 4 p.m.

“The aid is being unloaded but we cannot say when the ship will leave because communication is proving difficult,” Mr Debono said. He said the ship would be able to take on board anybody who wanted to leave Tripoli once the unloading operation was over.

This is the same vessel that had been instrumental in sending aid to Misurata some months back when Malta was the only lifeline to the worst hit city in the Libyan conflict.

A second ship, the Triva I, chartered by the Maltese government to evacuate foreign and Maltese nationals from Libya, had not yet berthed in Tripoli yesterday according to a government spokesman.

The Triva I returned to Libya after three previous attempts to berth in Tripoli earlier this week had to be abandoned when the ship was caught in crossfire as gun battles still raged in the capital with the rebels trying to flush out pockets of resistance.

The Libyan capital is in dire need of aid supplies and Mr Debono urged the Maltese to donate bottled water, apart from food, in the collection efforts undertaken by the Civil Protection Department.

“Gaddafi sabotaged the Great Man-made River project and, as a consequence, people do not have drinking water in their taps,” Mr Debono said. The man-made river project is a water pipeline, Muammar Gaddafi’s brainchild, to deliver fresh water from deep below the desert to the coastal cities.

The CPD Humanitarian Aid Section at Shipwright Wharf, Marsa will be open today and tomorrow between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to receive donations of water, tinned food, powdered baby milk, flour and sugar.

In the latest aid shipment that reached Libya yesterday, the Maltese government donated 45 pallets of medicines, bandages and other medical and surgical equipment, worth €130,000. The boat also carried oxygen cylinders in light of serious shortages in Tripoli hospitals.

Igo-Aid was set up in Malta in February by a number of Libyan and Maltese volunteers, mostly businessmen, and has been shipping humanitarian aid to a number of points in Libya throughout the crisis.

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