ICRC activities in Libya from January to June 2018
Seven years of armed conflict in Libya has left its people with coping mechanisms that are rapidly eroding. Daily life has become difficult and hundreds of thousands of people either remain displaced or are trying to return home.
The unrest, which began in 2011, has left many families completely dependent on humanitarian assistance provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Libyan Red Crescent (LRC).
Due to the protracted conflict, the host communities are overstretched as their resources are dwindling. This means they are no longer able to offer adequate support to the most vulnerable among them. Basic services and essential commodities are barely accessible.
Those returning home have had to deal with the remnants of large-scale destruction that also hit houses, schools and other key infrastructure facilities in some parts of Libya. The returnees face an additional risk of unexploded ordnance; these could not only cause grave injuries or be lethal but may even deter people from resuming a normal life.
Health care is a particular challenge for the entire Libyan population. A number of facilities have been subjected to attacks and sabotage, besides lack of maintenance and rehabilitation, affecting their capacity to deliver services. The functional health structures are finding it more and more difficult to cope due to the chronic shortage of medical supplies.
Migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers, continue to pass through Libya. During their journey, they have been susceptible to arrest, have lost contact with families and faced various kinds of abuse. Many have also perished at sea.
The ICRC, in partnership with the LRC, has striven to help the most vulnerable people. It currently operates from four offices in Libya – Tripoli in the west, Misrata in the center, Benghazi in the east and Sabha in the south – and has over 220 staff based mostly inside Libya and some in Tunis.
Food and essential household items
- The ICRC, often in partnership with the LRC, responded to several humanitarian emergencies arising in various parts of the country in the first six months of 2018.
- Food was distributed among more than 181,000 people, including the displaced, returnees and other vulnerable sections.
- Cash assistance was given to 14,400 people, enabling them to buy their daily needs.
- Essential household and hygiene items were given to 162,000 people, including the displaced, returnees and other vulnerable people.
Access to safe water and better sanitation
- Over 50,000 people in the eastern and southern parts of the country benefited from better access to drinking water, sewage disposal and clean-up measures after the floods.
- In an emergency intervention, the ICRC and the LRC distributed bottled water and restored community latrines, benefiting 600 displaced persons from Derna.
- The ICRC donated essential medical supplies to 28 hospitals and other facilities across Libya. At least 10 hospitals and 12 primary-health-care centres in Tripoli, Misrata, Benghazi, and Sabha received supplies on a regular basis.
- Structures supported by the ICRC treated hundreds of wounded patients, provided over 70,000 consultations and vaccinated more than 3,000 children against polio and measles.
- Insulin and other medicines were provided to over 7,000 patients in Misrata and Benghazi diabetes centres.
- Basic first-aid training sessions carried out for more than 380 people from various armed groups, among others.
- Over 450 people with physical disabilities were assisted with prostheses and physiotherapy treatment.
- The ICRC presently supports three centres in Tripoli, Misrata, and Benghazi with material and training.
Reconnecting families, finding the missing
- Over 530 families could reconnect via phone or video calls, short oral messages and Red Cross messages delivered by the ICRC or the LRC between people detained in Libya and their loved ones, as well as between families in Libya and their relatives detained abroad, including at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba.
- In Misrata, the ICRC visited detainees, including migrants, at two places of detention and unaccompanied minors at a National Society shelter, and helped them contact their relatives or consular representatives.
- Seventy-five people filed tracing requests for their missing relatives; 12 cases were resolved.
- The ICRC issued travel documents to nearly 570 people to facilitate their journey out of Libya.
- Clothes, hygiene items, and blankets were provided to over 320 detainees.
Dignified management of human remains
- In terms of forensic support, material to handle human remains properly and in a dignified manner were donated to the LRC and several hospitals, among others.
- Training sessions were organized for various entities involved in the recovery and/or management of human remains. Those trained included LRC volunteers, hospital staff and professionals in the field of forensics.