Timeline of the UK's response to the humanitarian situation in Libya
Created by DFID on Mar 1, 2011
Last updated: 02/16/12 at 12:02 PM
Twelve months since the popular uprising began, UK aid continues to help the Libyan people – backed by the wider support of the British Government.
New support announced today includes funding for further mine clearance work through the United Nations, which will nearly double the one million people Britain has so far helped to protect from unexploded ordnance.
Further ongoing help will focus on supporting the Transitional Government as Libya's people adapt to political and economic change and lay the foundations of a functioning democracy. This will include a UK senior police advisor working with the Ministry of Interior to develop a plan for Libya’s immediate policing needs.
The UK stands ready to provide further support, which would be delivered in response to Libyan owned and led solutions and in coordination with the UN.
Welcoming the National Transitional Council's official declaration of the liberation of Libya, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:
"The UK was one of the first to provide vital humanitarian support to those affected by the conflict in Libya. Our early action in providing emergency shelter supplies and flying people home from the border camps helped prevent a logistical problem from developing into a humanitarian crisis.
"In Misrata, the UK provided essential support including the emergency evacuation of nearly 5,000 vulnerable migrant workers and injured civilians. Our support has also contributed to providing surgical teams and medicines for war-wounded patients and emergency shelter for people driven out of their homes by ongoing fighting, as well as enabling work to protect up to one million people from unexploded devices. We remain ready to provide further support as needed.
"Now that liberation has been declared, we will continue to work with the NTC as they lead the process of post-conflict transition, supported by the UN. It is essential that we support Libyan owned and led solutions – this is a Libyan victory.
"In May, we sent an International Stabilisation Response team (ISRT) to Libya to identify the immediate challenges facing the Libyan people and suggest how the international community could respond in a clear, coordinated and effective way. Since then, the NTC have set out their own stabilisation plan and at their request we have deployed experts to support their plans on policing and finance and support on deminining. We stand ready to continue to provide assistance to support a Libyan led transition as required. Today’s events are an important step forward in this process."
The UK is making available further support for de-mining activities by the UN Mine Action Service, the Foreign Secretary announced during a visit to Tripoli today.
This will enable them to expand emergency mine clearance work, including in the areas of Sirte and Bani Walid, and will contribute to assisting thousands of people to return to their homes.
The details of this support will be developed with UNMAS when humanitarian agencies have full access to these areas. UK support to demining activities will contribute to protecting over 1 million people from the deadly threat posed by mines and other explosive remnants of war.
The UK remains committed to supporting the Libyan led transition and protecting the civilian population. Now the conflict is over in most of the country, our priority is supporting the return to normal life for the Libyan people.
UK aid will help protect around a million people in Libya from the threat of deadly landmines the Prime Minister said today as he announced new support for vital mines clearance and safety work during a visit to Libya.
The new British support will help Libyans to return safely to the homes and businesses they have fled. It will go through the Mines Advisory Group - known as MAG. It will contribute to:
- Deploying mobile teams to the west of Libya and the northern coastal region to identify and mark areas where there are landmines or other unexploded ordnance
- Working with the UN’s Joint Mines Action Co-ordination Team to ensure that hazardous areas are quickly cleared
- Providing emergency mines risk education to local communities to ensure that those returning to conflict areas – including children – are aware of the risk of unexploded material.
MAG's work continues to focus on areas worst affected by the fighting.
Britain will provide urgent humanitarian support including medical help, food and other basic supplies for thousands of people affected by the conflict in Libya, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced today.
Foreign Secretary William Hague and Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell travelled to Benghazi today to demonstrate their support for the National Transitional Council and discuss the Council’s plans for a political roadmap for the future of Libya.
Talks were focussed on recent progress against Colonel Qadhafi and UK assistance to help meet the Libyan people’s humanitarian needs, as well as looking ahead to the future development of the country. The Foreign Secretary and Development Secretary made clear that all the UK’s military, diplomatic and developmental actions were strategically aligned.
The Ministers reaffirmed their support for the NTC as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people and stressed the importance of developing plans for a competent, inclusive and transparent administration that includes clear civilian control of military and regional representation.
The International Development Secretary also announced new UK support for the clearance of mines in Misrata, Benghazi and other affected areas to help ensure the safety of 200,000 people. Of some 4,000 wounded persons that have been treated in Misrata alone so far, over 400 have reportedly required limb amputations. Clearing mines will help to ensure the people’s safety but also help communities to return to normal life.
The first ever international Stabilisation Response Team has arrived in Libya. The team of 11 stabilisation experts will assess what the country will need in the period ahead of a political settlement, with a view to supporting post conflict planning by the UN.
The team will help inform a co-ordinated international response to interim needs, drawing on its range of experts in areas such as economics, infrastructure, essential public services, security and justice systems and politics. The core team will be provided by Britain and will also include representatives from international partners including Italy and Denmark, with others set to join in the coming weeks including the EU.
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, the Cabinet Minister with responsibility for Stabilisation, said:
"The UK has provided immediate humanitarian help for those affected by the conflict in Libya, from helping migrant workers return home to providing medical and emergency food supplies.
"We will continue to do so, but the international community also needs to start thinking strategically about what is needed now to help lay the foundations for a stable, secure Libya."
UK aid has enabled the successful evacuation of a further 600 poor migrant workers from Misrata, as well as civilians who were wounded during the two month siege of the city.
The evacuation, carried out by the International Organisation for Migration, also carried in 280 tons of food aid. Britain has now supported the rescue of around 5,000 migrant workers, wounded civilians and their families since mid-April, as well as the delivery of nearly 2,100 tons of essential humanitarian supplies into the city.
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:
"A month ago, we promised we would help to get thousands of innocent civilians caught up in the fighting in Misrata back to safety. Today we make good on that promise, with British funding now having helped with the evacuation of around 5,000 people.
"As well as reaching poor migrant workers left in Misrata, this latest evacuation ensures that wounded civilians can receive much-needed medical help from facilities in Benghazi. The assessment team that arrived on the ship will also be able to get a better idea of needs as the city starts to rebuild itself and look towards the future."
International Development Secretary Andew Mitchell welcomed the arrival of the ship. He said:
“This morning a British-funded humanitarian ship - the International Organisation for Migration’s Red Star One – successfully docked in Misrata port.
“The ship had been waiting to enter the port since 30 April. Ongoing military activity by Qadhafi troops meant that it was forced to sit out at sea for five days, in an unacceptable delay to critical, life-saving assistance.
“Now in Misrata, Red Star One will deliver vital aid and evacuate and rescue around 1,000 migrant workers. This means that British funded ships will have helped to rescue around 4,000 people.
“We are extremely concerned that ongoing fighting in Misrata risks preventing other humanitarian ships from docking.
“The Qadhafi regime continues to shell the port area, and the security situation is made worse by mines they have laid in the water.
“I strongly condemn the fact that humanitarian vessels are being prevented from carrying out their duties.
“We demand unfettered humanitarian access so that this urgent work can be continued.”
Another ship carrying British aid has reached the besieged city of Misrata. The latest shipment - organised by UNICEF and part funded by the UK - brought more support to those caught up in the fighting yesterday. The relief ship delivered vital hygiene and medical kits for families across the city, including:
5,000 family hygiene kits to help stop the spread of germs
Water purification kits, so that 25,000 people have safe water to drink
First aid kits for 3,000 people to help the sick and wounded
Jerry cans for 15,000 people
Infant hygiene kits for 2,000 children
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 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 to provide critical medical aid for those caught up in the violence across western Libya.
Regarding reports from UNICEF that an increased number of children had been killed in Misrata as a result of the fighting, British International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:
"These UNICEF reports underline our deep concern about the humanitarian situation throughout Libya and the effect of Qadhafi's actions on children and all vulnerable civilians."
Video of the World Food Programme's relief ship which has delivered 30 tonnes of vital UK aid to the city of Misrata.
A relief ship carrying British-funded medical and emergency food supplies has successfully reached the port of the besieged town of Misrata, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell confirmed today.
The Marianne Danica was chartered by the UN’s World Food Programme and was loaded with aid, including crucial supplies for UNICEF funded by DFID.
Britain will provide emergency shelter for more than 10,000 people driven out of their homes by ongoing fighting in Libya, the International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced today.
As a matter of urgency, 2,100 tents will be flown out from UK stocks in Dubai to provide potentially life saving shelter during cold desert nights. The tents will be distributed by the Libyan Red Crescent to those most in need - including women, children and the sick – particularly around the Ajdabiya area in the conflict-affected North East of Libya.
The UK will today host the London Conference on Libya to discuss the situation in Libya with allies and partners.
Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that the UK will host an international conference in London on 29 March. Announcing the conference the Foreign Secretary said:
"At the conference we will discuss the situation in Libya with our allies and partners and take stock of the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 (2011)."
Britain will support additional emergency evacuation flights for people who have fled to the Libya-Tunisia border, in light of concerns that numbers reaching the border camp look set to keep growing.
Image credit: Victor Lacken/IFRC
The British Government will fund the International Confederation of the Red Cross, enabling them to provide three medical teams to treat and provide medical supplies to 3000 people affected by the ongoing fighting in Libya.
The UK will also provide food and supplies to 100,000 of those most in need. This follows International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell’s visit to the area on Friday.
The British Government will provide emergency evacuation flights to repatriate 500 Bangladeshis stranded in Tunisia after the International Development Secretary assessed the scale of the humanitarian situation for himself during a visit to a Libyan border camp.
The UK funded DFID/IOM emergency air evacuation has now transported over 5,500 Egyptians from Tunisia to Cairo. The operation continues today.
In the meantime, DFID is in close contact with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on how we can help return home other third country nationals who are stuck on the border.
Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell arrived at the Libyan Tunisian border today to see for himself the situation on the ground and understand what more Britain can do to help avoid a major humanitarian crisis.
Spending time in the transit camp just beyond the border area near Ras Ajdir, the Development Secretary met some of the 179,925 displaced migrant workers who have been leaving Libya since 20 February.
Speaking from the Libyan Tunisian border, Andrew Mitchell announced that the UK will send two air logistics officers to support the increasingly pressurised Djerba airport, now the hub for incoming humanitarian supplies and outgoing repatriation flights as individuals are evacuated from the border.
For more details, visit: http://www.dfid.gov.uk/libyaunrest
As of 1600 GMT today, a total of 1,135 people affected by the unrest in Libya have been flown on five UK-chartered flights from Tunisia to Cairo. Further flights are expected to depart later today.
Picture: Benoit Carpentier / IFRC
Egyptian refugees arriving at Djerba airport, about to take a plane back to Cairo.
The British Government will provide emergency evacuation flights to repatriate up to six thousand people stranded in Tunisia to prevent the humanitarian situation on the border with Libya spiralling further into disaster, the Prime Minister David Cameron announced today.
The move comes following the UN's request for international assistance to get those people out and home. At least 85,000 people have crossed the border between Libya and Tunisia so far and many are stranded in hastily organised camps. Thousands of migrants are still sleeping in the open.
The UK Government is providing three commercial charter planes on rotation to fly people away from the camps back to their home, as the most effective method of helping tackle this emerging humanitarian disaster.
Image: UNHCR / A. Duclos
The International Development Secretary has dispatched humanitarian and stabilisation teams to both borders to help with this.
A relief flight carrying aid supplies from the British Government departed from Dubai earlier today and has now arrived in Tunisia. The flight contains 36,000 blankets and 300 tents to provide much needed shelter for at least 1,500 refugees who have fled over the Libyan border.
The tents and blankets will now be handed over to the UNHCR who will deliver them on the ground.
Prime Minister David Cameron made a statement on the situation in Libya to the House of Commons today, 28 February 2011:
"Mr Speaker, everyone hopes this situation will be resolved quickly but there is a real danger now of a humanitarian crisis inside Libya.
"We are acutely conscious of the risks of shortages and are monitoring the situation closely. We have dispatched technical teams to be in place at both the Tunisian and Egyptian borders. Currently the most pressing need is assisting the large numbers of migrant workers into Egypt and Tunisia to get home.
"Tomorrow, in response to a request from the UN, Britain will fly in tents and blankets from our stocks in Dubai for use at the Tunisian border.
"The International Development Secretary will be visiting the region later this week to assess the situation on the ground for himself."
In a speech on Libya today at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Foreign Secretary William Hague said,
"We must also be vigilant about the potential humanitarian crisis which could develop in Libya. The full scale of the need is not yet clear but where there is need and where we can meet that need Britain will act, and Britain’s Department for International Development is already on the ground in neighbouring countries and is ready to assist."
Read the full statement on the FCO website
DFID's team in Egypt is en route to the Libyan border now, in convoy with an Embassy team. Another team is due to land in Tunis shortly and we are working to deploy them to the border with Libya also.
Image: Fredrik Naumann/Panos
Reports from humanitarian experts in Eastern Libya indicate that food and medical supplies are available with markets open. Tens of thousands of people are leaving Libya through the Tunisian and Egyptian borders but reports so far are that these movements are orderly and are being well handled by the respective authorities.
We remain very concerned about the humanitarian implications of the situation and are following developments closely.
Humanitarian specialists from the British Government are now on the ground in Egypt and are preparing to make their way to the Libyan border.
The team are assessing how Britain and the international community can best assist the region as the situation develops. We are monitoring the movement of people from Libya to Tunisia and Egypt.
In particular, we are actively assessing the need for supplies from HMG's humanitarian stockpile based in Dubai.
The Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell and his officials are in close contact with a range of international humanitarian agencies to discuss their assessment of the situation.
Britain is actively engaged in monitoring the humanitarian situation in Libya as it develops and is preparing plans to cover any eventuality.
The International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell is in close touch with a range of international humanitarian agencies. He has spoken to Valerie Amos, Head of UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Jehangir Malik, UK Director of Islamic Relief, to discuss their assessment of the situation.