Britain to help escape 5,000 people trapped in Libyan city of Misratah

IOM to carry out emergency evacuations
21st April 2011: Britain is all set to rescue migrant workers from the Libyan city of Misratah.
The DFID said: `Britain is to help 5,000 people trapped in Misurata escape the besieged city and will provide vital medical assistance to those who remain in towns across western Libya, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced from New York today.

`The emergency evacuations will be carried out by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and will get foreign workers who have managed to reach Misurata’s port safely out of the town.

`Britain will also fund International Medical Corps (IMC) to provide critical medical aid for those caught up in the violence across western Libya.

`The IMC will send in five-person volunteer surgical and trauma teams to medical facilities; provide medical supplies including antibiotics and analgesics, bandages and first aid kits and surgical equipment, to treat the wounded and for other general medical care needs, as well as food supplies for hospital patients; and provide emergency evacuations for the most severely sick and injured to Benghazi and other facilities outside of Libya if necessary’.

Mitchell was in New York to meet with leading figures in the United Nations, including UNICEF, UNDP, the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs and other senior diplomats.

The objective was to consider what more can be done to relieve the suffering of people living in flashpoints across Libya. Mitchell’s visit was aimed at discussing plans for better access for aid, medical supplies and other humanitarian assistance, and to consider how to speed up crucial transit times.

Mitchell said: `I am determined that Britain continues to provide help to those innocent civilians who are caught up in the ongoing violence. Thousands of foreign workers have managed to reach the port but find themselves at terrible risk from incoming fire, with no way to get out. These evacuations will take them to safety and help reduce the demand in Misurata for the very limited supplies of food, water and medical supplies available.

`In conflict-affected areas across western Libya, there’s a shortage of doctors – most have no training in war surgery – few nurses, overwhelmed staff, and weak or non-existent post-operative care. British support will mean medical supplies and highly-trained teams get into the worse-hit areas, which could mean the difference between life and death for many people.’

The DFID added: Medical personnel in western Libya report a shortage of supplies and staff. There is concern that medical facilities are operating at maximum capacity and some severely injured people require urgent evacuation.

`The IMC will assess areas in greatest need of medical help on a rolling basis, and medical teams and emergency supplies will be deployed accordingly. Medical support will help those affected by the fighting, including those made sick as a result of having been driven out of their homes and without sufficient shelter, food, water or sanitation. It will also help those with long-standing health needs or chronic illnesses such as diabetes’.

International Medical Corp’s Vice-President for International Operations, Rabih Torbay, said: "Britain’s support for the International Medical Corps programme in Libya has been provided at a critical time and will enable life-saving emergency medical care and supplies to be delivered to the most vulnerable populations in Libya.

"Our doctors estimate that they will be able to provide lifesaving care to at least 30 severely wounded people a day, and provide essential health care to hundreds more on a daily basis."

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