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Va. Group Focuses On Humanitarian Relief In Libya

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The Alexandria office of Islamic Relief U.S.A. is humming with activity. The organization issued an emergency appeal last week on behalf of civilians in and around Libya. Nationally, they'll try to raise $1 million in two weeks, which means a lot of hard work locally.

"I feel that I can be sort of a bridge for them, to make sure that whatever help were sending over there, that it's actually going to meet the needs of the people," says Asma Yousef, a Libyan-American who's managing the appeal campaign.

Because she speaks with family and friends in Libya daily, Yousef's in a unique position to bring the right kind of relief to the civilians who need it.

Islamic Relief has a team along the Tunisian border, and so far they've provided everything from food to transitional shelters.

"We're providing 45,000 food packets a day and were providing 45,000 bottles of water. So far we've also provided 10,000 hygiene kits," Yousef says.

A major fundraising dinner in Tysons Corner is planned for next weekend, and Islamic Relief is also raising money through the Internet and mailers.

They've raised about $600,000 since the appeal began on March 1.

"I think it's incumbent upon all of us, whether we're Americans or not, to respond and to stay engaged and to help out in any way we can," Yousef says.

She says the donation response has been incredible, but there's more to do.

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