5 January 2012 – A senior United Nations official who has visited the Libyan cities of Bani Walid, Sirte and Misrata, which saw some of the most intense fighting during last year’s military campaign to oust Muammar al-Qadhafi’s regime, said today he was impressed by the rate of return of displaced residents to their homes.
Georg Charpentier, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, who visited the cities on Tuesday and yesterday, noted that an estimated 60 per cent of the population displaced by the fighting had returned to Bani Walid and Sirte.
He voiced his admiration of the strong resilience amongst residents and the local council’s striving to tackle the prevailing humanitarian challenges.
“Following the liberation of Bani Walid and Sirte in October and the progressive return of their populations over the last months, the two cities now need more attention and concrete action to accelerate their full return to normalcy,” Mr. Charpentier, who is also the deputy head of the UN Support Mission for Libya (UNSMIL).
“Public infrastructure, housing, education and health facilities need to be rehabilitated, reconstructed and reactivated, intense and focused reconciliation efforts also need to be encouraged in these two cities.”
During his visit to the three cities, Mr. Charpentier met with members of the local and military councils, as well as representatives of the local population and viewed houses and public facilities that were destroyed during the conflict.
He also visited a local warehouse in Bani Walid to see the distribution of relief supplies, including food aid by the UN World Food Programme (WFP). Beneficiaries included residents and people from the other countries.
The violent uprising in Libya, which led to the overthrow of Mr. Qadhafi’s long-standing regime, caused the deaths of thousands of civilians and the displacement of tens of thousands of others, including many foreign nationals and refugees.