ICRC, 26th October 2012
The humanitarian situation remains difficult for the people of Bani Walid in Libya. To help those who fled the city after heavy clashes this week, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is working with the Libyan Red Crescent to distribute food, drinking water, medicine and other essential items to more than 10,000 people in the nearby cities of Tarhuna and Orban.
Many people have had to get out of Bani Walid since fighting resumed in the city almost a month ago. The number of displaced people has been increasing, especially since clashes intensified about a week ago. Many of them have taken refuge in nearby towns, including Tarhuna (100 kilometres northwest of Bani Walid) and Orban (90 kilometres northwest). “These people are distressed, confused and angry. They left their homes with very few belongings and need help,” explains Asma Khaliq Awan, the ICRC delegate who is coordinating aid in the area.
Medical supplies for Bani Walid Hospital
The ICRC has entered Bani Walid three times (on 10 and 19 October and on 24 October) since fighting resumed there, to deliver medical supplies and evacuate people. The organization had previously delivered medical supplies to the main hospital and Al-Dahra clinic.
On the last of these visits, an ICRC team was able to evacuate seven foreign health workers to Tripoli who had been trapped in Bani Walid since the fighting began early last week. One of the evacuees had her small child.
The ICRC continues to monitor the humanitarian situation in and around Bani Walid as the fighting continues and to offer separated family members the opportunity to maintain or restore contact. The organization is also providing food, water and other essential items to those who have been displaced.
In Tarhuna, displaced people receive assistance directly from the warehouses of the Libyan Red Crescent. “The impressive thing about the whole operation is that all these displaced people have found shelter with host families in Tarhuna,” said Asma Khaliq Awan.