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Libya: ICRC continues to respond to emergencies

12-04-2012 Operational Update

The conflict has ended but many humanitarian needs remain. In recent weeks, the ICRC renewed its agreement with the Libyan authorities for several years, and provided urgent assistance for wounded people following clashes in Sabha and close to the Tunisian border.

Assistance for medical facilities in Zwarra, Jmail and Ragdalin

Clashes broke out on 2 April near the towns of Zwarra and Ragdalin, about 120 kilometres west of Tripoli, along the road leading to Tunisia. "The violence left around 25 people dead and over 300 wounded," said Fatma Eljack, an ICRC delegate.

On 4 and 5 April, the ICRC and the Libyan Red Crescent provided medical supplies for first aid and emergency treatment, body bags and stretchers for the hospitals of Zwarra and Jmail and for the primary health-care unit in Ragdalin.

"The Libyan Red Crescent evacuated the many wounded people from Zwarra, Jmail and Ragdalin to hospitals in Tripoli, Sebrata and Zawiya, and across the border into Tunisia," added Ms Eljack. "We continue to monitor the humanitarian situation closely."

After the heavy clashes in Sabha

Recent violence between the Tabou and Awlad Sleiman tribes in Sabha, southern Libya, has left around 150 people dead and over 350 wounded, according to ICRC and Libyan Red Crescent estimates.

"Many Tabou have been displaced and people have been detained by both sides," said Georges Comninos, the head of the ICRC delegation in Libya. "In order to respond to the most urgent needs, we sent 12 staff, including health personnel and water engineers, to Sabha."

"Casualties evacuated to hospitals in Tripoli have been visited by an ICRC medical doctor to check on their condition," he added.

The ICRC provided Sabha Central Hospital with surgical items and other medical supplies to treat patients with weapon-related injuries. It also delivered medical supplies to a field hospital set up in Tajuri, a Sabha neighbourhood populated mainly by Tabou and Tuareg. In addition, it gave technical advice on the proper management of dead bodies and body bags to the health and security authorities in Sabha.

As the water supply system in Tajuri was damaged in the fighting, the ICRC installed 10 water tanks and distributed 20,000 litres of clean drinking water for the population.

The ICRC helped local technicians repair the electrical supply system, which failed during the fighting, and donated 200 litres of fuel so that the water pump could be run by generator. In addition, it provided the Libyan Red Crescent in Sabha with a water bladder to boost its capacity to respond to emergency water needs.

Aid for vulnerable communities and displaced people

The ICRC continued to closely monitor the humanitarian situation in Al Kufra and Ribyana, in the south-east of Libya, following clashes that occurred in February. While most internally displaced people have returned home, their situation remains precarious.

On 3 April, rice, sugar, pasta, sunflower oil, diapers, blankets, tarpaulins, kitchen sets and buckets were distributed to 5,000 people in Al Kufra and Ribyana.

To make sure that the 15,000 people in Al Kufra have clean drinking water, the ICRC donated seven submersible pumps to the local water board. The town was without a regular supply of drinking water for five months owing to the lack of maintenance on the water network during the conflict in Libya.

People of the Tawargha, Gwalish, Mashashia and Tamina communities are still displaced in the areas of Bani Walid, Urban and Tarhuna. Over the past two weeks, the ICRC delivered food and other essentials to a local organization in Bani Walid for further distribution to the displaced people living in and around the city.

Agreement between the ICRC and the Libyan authorities

On 28 March, the ICRC renewed its headquarters agreement with the Libyan authorities. The agreement reaffirms the ICRC's commitment to address the humanitarian needs remaining in Libya after the conflict ended. "We welcome this agreement, which has been signed for a period of five years," said Mr Comninos. "This is an expression of the Libyan authorities' assurance that they will facilitate our humanitarian work and abide by humanitarian principles."

"Unfortunately, when a conflict ends it does not mean that human suffering has also been brought to an end," said Mr Comninos. "In Libya today, this is true especially for those who are still displaced or living in areas heavily contaminated by explosive remnants of war, for the families of people who went missing or died, for the wounded and for detainees and their families."

For further information, please contact:
Soaade Messoudi, ICRC Tripoli, tel: +218 913 066 198
Steven Anderson, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 20 11 or +41 79 536 92 50


Photos

Sabha, Libya. The ICRC was the first organization to enter Tayouri, a district of Sabha, trucking in drinking water on 1 April 2012. 

Sabha, Libya. The ICRC was the first organization to enter Tayouri, a district of Sabha, trucking in drinking water on 1 April 2012. The water truck was provided by the Sabha Water and Sanitation Company.
© ICRC / A. el Badeaa al Dada

Sabha, Libya. Some of the destruction witnessed by the ICRC team, the first to enter Tayouri, a district of Sabha. 

Sabha, Libya. Some of the destruction witnessed by the ICRC team, the first to enter Tayouri, a district of Sabha.
© ICRC / A. el Badeaa al Dada

Libya. The ICRC fills water tanks with fresh water. 

Libya, Sabha. The ICRC fills water tanks with fresh water.
© ICRC / D. Kaelin

Libya. The ICRC fills water tanks with fresh water. 

Libya, Sabha. The ICRC fills water tanks with fresh water.
© ICRC / D. Kaelin

Libya. A team of technicians was deployed under the auspices of the ICRC to assess damage to the electrical supply system. 

Libya, Sabha. A team of technicians was deployed under the auspices of the ICRC to assess damage to the electrical supply system.
© ICRC / D. Kaelin

Bani Walid, Libya. Packages of emergency aid await distribution to the Libyan National Development Forum for onward distribution to IDPs in and around the city. 

Bani Walid, Libya. Packages of emergency aid await distribution to the Libyan National Development Forum for onward distribution to IDPs in and around the city.
© ICRC / X. Hu