The Civil Protection Department started receiving donations for Libya today as preparations accelerated for Malta to serve as a logistical base for humanitarian aid flows to Tripoli.

The CPD is receiving donations of tinned food and water at Shipwrights Wharf in Marsa (behind Marsovin).

The World Health Organisation will also be channelling some of its aid through Malta.

The items collected by the CPD this morning also included medical supplies handed over by Parliamentary Secretary Mario Galea.

The CPD warehouse will be open between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. today and tomorrow.

Some months ago Malta was instrumental in supplying aid to Misurata, the worst hit city of the crisis. The CPD sent out €40,000 worth of water and medical supplies.

"The Libyan population is suffering greatly as provisions have decreased drastically because of the situation. Being so close to Libya we should give our contribution as a Christian country and ensure their survivability," CPD director Patrick Murgo said.

Money can also be donated on the following accounts: HSBC 0780 0239 1050, Bank of Valletta 4001 8758 443, Lombard Bank 0144 0800 001, APS Bank 2000 0889 551 and Banif Bank 0008 3224 181.

Meanwhile, the Malta-based I go-Aid Foundation is planning to send more personnel and supplies to Tripoli between today and tomorrow.

Its ship, Al Entisar, has berthed in Tripoli carrying 400 tonnes of food and 250 tonnes of medicines.

A Maltese-chartered ship, Triva I, is also in Tripoli, waiting to evacuate workers to Malta.

Libyan rebel chief calls for emergency humanitarian aid

Meanwhile, Libyan rebel leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil today called  for emergency humanitarian aid for  Tripoli, stressing the lack of medical supplies.

"We are calling all the humanitarian organisations and telling them that Tripoli needs medicines, first aid products and surgical material," he told a news conference in Benghazi.

Jalil, head of the rebels National Transitional Council (TNC), also said the capital lacked basic foodstuffs.

Blaming "sabotage by Gaddafi's forces" for shortages of water and electricity in Tripoli, he said, "We are working on resolving these problems."

Jalil also called on businessmen to repatriate their funds and put them in Libyan banks as the country prepares to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, traditionally a time of festivity.