Libya: more aid distributed as fighting drags on in Bani Walid
23-10-2012 News Release
Tripoli/Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), together with the Libyan Red Crescent, began distributing aid today to thousands of people who have fled their homes in Bani Walid over the past few days because of the tensions and fighting in the city.
ICRC staff and Libyan Red Crescent volunteers are distributing plastic sheeting, mattresses, blankets, kitchen sets and hygiene items to the many displaced in Orban. In addition, 17 tonnes of basic food supplies (rice, oil, beans, salt, sugar, tea and tomato paste) and 7 tonnes of other items are leaving Tripoli today for onward distribution to displaced people in Orban, Temesla Wadi Mansour and other areas.
"Orban and Temesla Wadi Mansour are the main transit points for civilians fleeing their homes," said Asma Khaliq Awan, the delegate in charge of the distributions. "However, we have heard of many other routes being used and of people being stranded on sand roads in the desert. Right now, we cannot provide accurate figures of displaced people, as the numbers keep fluctuating. Some people are trying to reach Tripoli but others will try to stay in the area, as close as possible to their homes. Most of the displaced are women and children. Conditions are very difficult for all, with hygiene a particular concern. These people urgently need food, water and hygiene items."
Meanwhile, other ICRC staff are transferring about 60 foreign workers to Tarhuna, where the ICRC set up a temporary base for its humanitarian operations on 22 October. The workers, mainly from Bangladesh and India, have already walked at least 30 kilometres from Bani Walid.
"We are very concerned about the effects of the violence on the entire population still in Bani Walid, including of course the foreign nationals and the wounded. The situation is made all the more dangerous by the fact that the fighting is taking place in densely populated areas," said Ishfaq Muhammad Khan, who heads the ICRC delegation in Libya. "We are receiving many appeals to come to their aid. To be able to evacuate the injured from Bani Walid, we need safe access to the city. We are in contact with all those involved to make sure that we can get it."
Since the start of the violence in Bani Walid, the ICRC has entered the city on two occasions, on 10 and 19 October. It has delivered surgical supplies to treat some 100 weapon-wounded patients, as well as other urgently needed medical supplies, to Bani Walid hospital and the Dahra polyclinic.
In its capacity as a strictly neutral and independent humanitarian organization, the ICRC calls on all those involved to respect the life, physical well-being and human dignity of others at all times. It urges everyone to respect and protect the injured, medical personnel, medical facilities and any vehicle used as an ambulance. Health-care and humanitarian personnel must be able to provide aid unhindered.
For further information, please contact:
Soaade Messoudi, ICRC Tripoli, tel: +218 913 066 198
Saleh Dabbakeh, ICRC Tripoli, tel: +218 919 307 706
Vassily Fadeev, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 536 92 48