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Libya: aid for 10,000 people returning to Sirte

18-11-2011 News Release

An estimated 25 per cent of Sirte's inhabitants are now back in their homes. Others who had been displaced by the fierce fighting that ended last month are coming to the city to check on the state of their houses and belongings. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Libyan Red Crescent have delivered food and other relief items to over 10,000 people returning to the centre of the devastated city.

"The process of return is slow. There is still a lack of clean water, electricity is limited and infrastructure has been badly damaged," said Charlotte Bennborn, an ICRC delegate who participated in the distribution. "A major return of displaced people has yet to take place, but those arriving now need help to get going with their lives again."

On 17 November, the ICRC, together with Sirte-based Libyan Red Crescent volunteers, finished the urgent aid delivery in the city centre, which was the part of the city most extensively damaged. One-month food rations consisting of rice, beans, pasta, tomato paste, salt, sugar and tea were distributed. "Baby food is available for families with infants," said Ms Bennborn. "And people returning to severely damaged houses receive blankets, hygiene parcels, jerrycans and plastic sheeting."

There are also lots of dangerous unexploded devices in Sirte. The ICRC has started to clear unexploded ordnance in the city and in Bani Walid, focusing on the areas that pose the greatest threat to returning civilians. Together with the Libyan Red Crescent, it is beefing up its efforts to raise awareness of these dangers among the population.

The ICRC and the Libyan Red Crescent will be distributing more relief in Sirte, in accordance with the number of people arriving and their needs. The ICRC is coordinating its work with other humanitarian organizations, to avoid duplication or gaps in the response to the needs of displaced people and returnees.

For further information, please contact:
Soaade Messoudi, ICRC Tripoli, tel: +218 913 066 198
Dibeh Fakhr, ICRC Benghazi, tel: +870 772 390 124 (ext. 250) or +218 9 923 304 560
Steven Anderson, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 20 11 or +41 79 536 92 50


Photos

Sirte, Libya. Libyan Red Crescent volunteers prepare relief goods for distribution to civilians who have returned to the city centre. 

Sirte, Libya. Libyan Red Crescent volunteers prepare relief goods for distribution to civilians who have returned to the city centre.
© ICRC

Sirte, Libya. ICRC vehicles assemble at the entrance to the city before distributing relief goods. 

Sirte, Libya. ICRC vehicles assemble at the entrance to the city before distributing relief goods.
© ICRC