Humanitarian emergencies – Italy’s initiatives

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General Context

Since the beginning of the crisis 533,000 people have left Libya for surrounding countries: Tunisia (251,000) and Egypt (215,000). The situation remains critical in Western Libya and especially in the city of Misurata, now in its 7th week of clashes between loyalist and opposition forces and where 250 victims have to date been reported. There is increased internal movement among the Libyan population, and concern continues to mount regarding the need for additional humanitarian aid. The UN and the international community continue to intervene both within Libya and in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt to meet the most urgent needs, such as the evacuation of third country citizens (estimated by the International Migration Organisation, for the city of Misurata alone, at 6,000 Egyptians, Nigerians, Ghanians, Iraqis, Tunisians and Bangladeshis). There is a shortage of medical supplies, and this population movement and consequent difficulties point to the risk of dwindling access to drinking water and healthcare support.

Humanitarian interventions completed

Trauma treatment medical kits supplied to the WHO for the treatment of 1,000 civilians wounded at Cirenaica. The kits arrived in Cairo on March 1st, where they were consigned to WHO staff to be transported to Benghazi with the help of the Libyan Red Crescent, from where they were distributed to the main hospitals and healthcare centres in Eastern Libya. Evacuation of third country citizens fleeing Libya. Between 5 and 10 March a total of 6 flights—4 military and 2 civilian—repatriated 863 Egyptian, Malian and Bangladeshi nationals. An overall 91 tonnes of humanitarian aid supplies shipped aboard the “Libra” (docking on 7 March in Benghazi and on 20 March in Derna). Transport of foodstuffs (made available by LEGACOOP and ESSELUNGA), tents, blankets, water purifiers, electrical generators and medical kits for the general pathology treatment of 110,000 persons for a 3-month period.

Medical kits to Misurata. The WHO was supplied with 5 kits for the general treatment of approximately 50,000 persons and 5 trauma treatment kits for 500 persons wounded by firearms. The kits were loaded onto a civilian ship at Smyrna (Turkey) with food supplies from the WFP and other goods from UNICEF. The shipment reached Misurata on 7 April for distribution among the civilian population. Evacuation of wounded Libyans and delivery of medical kits. On Friday 8 April two C-130 transport planes landed in Benghazi, one from Pratica di Mare carrying a military medical team and the other from Brindisi carrying 15 tonnes in medical kits. Once they reached Benghazi, the medical kits (including 6 general pathology kits for the treatment of 60,000 cases, and 5 trauma kits for the treatment of 500 firearms victims) were taken in consignment by the National Transitional Council and placed with the Benghazi medical centre for subsequent distribution to healthcare centres and hospitals in the Benghazi area. At the same time, 25 of the wounded (mainly burn and firearms victims) were boarded onto another C-130 transport plane to be transferred to Milan, where they arrived on 8 April for medical assistance in various healthcare facilities in the Lombardy region. Some of these patients have been discharged and taken to a Red Cross reception facility, others will be discharged in the next 10 to 15 days, while two patients are being held for more prolonged treatment.

Total contributions to UNICEF of €300,000 in response to a UN appeal. This contribution, disbursed on 13 April, aims to supply water and hygienic services to the Libyan villages most severely struck, with special attention for the most vulnerable segments of the population, such as women and children.