Tripoli, 8 May:
A Hercules chartered by the Arab-Austrian Fellowship Association today flew from Tripoli to Benghazi with aid and 30 doctors . . .[restrict]as part of its campaign to assist Libya, in its largest-ever undertaking.
The group arrived on Monday with 17 tons of humanitarian aid and the 30-strong medical team. They drove first in a convoy of vehicles to Gharyan in the Nafusa mountains. They then returned to Tripoli for the flight to Benghazi. The remaining aid is there being handed over to the Red Crescent for distribution to needy families, while the medical team assists in the main hospital and at clinics.
The Secretary General of the Arab-Austrian Friendship Association, Adlinger Fras, said his organisation had mounted the operation in cooperation with the Libyan aid organization “Wafa” and with the help of the Austrian army and many medical, social organizations and Austrian companies.
This latest aid effort comes after the three convoys organised during and after the revolution by Austrian materials firm Asamer, which is a joint venture partner with the Economic and Social Development Fund in the Libyan Cement Company. Asamer organised trucks to bring in medical aid from Egypt, as well as food for its 2,500 workforce, who had been laid off when production was suspended during the fighting.
The Austrian firm later praised LCC employees for mounting guard over their work places during the revolution — two cement factories in Benghazi and another in Derna, along with a concrete production facility in Tajoura in Tripoli. All escaped serious damage in the conflict. LCC later began paying the wages that its employees had lost during the shut downs. It is one of the few companies in Libya to have done so.
Ironically the Benghazi plants are currently in danger of closure within a fortnight because of a strike by a handful of workers. Their demands made to the company are that all foreigners quit Libya and that the LCC be re-nationalised. (See the Business section for an in-depth report on the strike). [/restrict]