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AmeriCares Delivering New Shipments of Medical Aid, Working with Partners as the Libyan Conflict Escalates

  • March 20, 2011

As casualties mounted in the fighting between forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi  and rebels calling for his ouster, the first steps in establishing the UN-mandated no-fly zone in Libya began with airstrikes against government positions.  

With the escalation in the conflict, AmeriCares continues to respond to calls for humanitarian assistance with two new emergency shipments of  medical aid mounted in our warehouses in Amsterdam and in Stamford, CT and scheduled to depart this week. 

The international community, authorized by the UN Security Council on March 17, acted to prevent what many feared would be a massacre of civilians and to remove the threat posed by government use of airpower to bomb the opposition forces and the civilian population.

Thousands had fled the city as preparations by Libyan government forces were put in place to attack the rebel stronghold in Benghazi, a city of 700,000 with a long history of opposing Qaddafi.  With every escalation in fighting, hospitals have been overwhelmed with growing numbers of casualties.  

In addition to the thousands of civilians fleeing in the path of the conflict, more than 250,000 people, mostly third-country nationals, have fled over the Egyptian and Tunisian border.  AmeriCares is expanding efforts on the ground to meet the humanitarian crisis for evacuees at the border by sending emergency airlifts into Cairo, which are then transported to the border. 

The UN Refugee Agency reports that among the Egyptians, Tunisians and other nationals attempting to return to their homelands, thousands of people, including families with young children, continue moving into transit camps that have sprung up along the Libyan border. 

With tribal leaders and health care providers in the border areas requesting humanitarian assistance, AmeriCares rushed the first emergency shipment containing antibiotics, pain relievers, basic chronic care medicines and other medical supplies, enough to treat an estimated 15,000 patients.  The two new shipments heading for Cairo bring the total value of shipments for the Libyan crisis to $1.5 million.

The Egyptian government and military established a field hospital at the border and are helping Egyptian nationals return to their communities. Thousands of third-country nationals are seeking assistance for repatriation to their home countries. 

“AmeriCares medical assistance is being used primarily for these third-country nationals who are stranded on the Egyptian border while arrangements are made for them to return to their home countries,” said Christoph Gorder, senior vice president of global program operations for AmeriCares.  “We are working with our partners in Libya, and based on their assessments in the camps and in the Libyan city of Benghazi, we are expanding support for their efforts both at the border and in country.”

For more than 25 years AmeriCares has provided medical relief and humanitarian assistance to millions affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.  Disaster relief and emergency medical supplies are strategically stocked and positioned to help people in crisis, wherever and whenever they need it.  

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