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IRC calls for action from Europe, US as conflict in Libya worsens

An inside look at how the IRC is helping asylum seekers in the U.S. (COURTESY PHOTO)

TRIPOLI – The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is concerned about increasing fighting around Tripoli, Libya, which Wednesday night, April 17 claimed the lives of 11 civilians and injured 22, including an IRC staff member.

Global leaders have been unable to present a united front in the face of the violence. The IRC is calling on European leaders to come up with a unified response to the crisis and insist on an immediate ceasefire, and for the US to re-energize its diplomatic muscle and steer the country away from civil war and further humanitarian crisis.

Daily clashes continue to claim the lives of civilians, while more than 20,000 people have been displaced so far. Last night’s attack demonstrates that the fighting shows no signs of stopping, which could define Libya’s future for years to come.

Mr. Thomas Garofalo, the International Rescue Committee’s Libya Director, said:

“This offensive could set Libya back years. The people of Tripoli are being terrorized by shells and rockets, with homes destroyed and civilians scrambling to get away from the fighting, including our own medical personnel. Those who attack civilians, neighbourhoods, and hospitals must face justice, or surely this conflict will get much worse.”

“Libya’s latest turmoil illustrates the precarious situation the country is in. The impact on refugees and migrants is far worse, with 2,700 still caught in detention centres amid active conflict. As they remain trapped, we must be reminded that the only solution to the crisis is a political one. Only by concerted and diplomatic efforts will a further escalation be prevented and it is vital that European countries and the United States step up their efforts to avoid large-scale civilian harm and a deepening of the humanitarian crisis,” he added.

The injury of an IRC staff member serves to highlight the great dangers aid workers put themselves in, and as a reminder of the insecurity on the ground as people fear for their lives.

Mr. Garofalo said that the International Rescue Committee is working tirelessly in affected areas to provide urgent medical care to Libyans and non-Libyans who have been caught in the midst of the violence.

As people have been forced to flee their homes, the IRC mobile medical team continues to treat patients at health centres close to the areas where people are gathering. Since the outburst of violence, the IRC has deployed trauma staff to primary health centres and shelters across the region to provide emergency medical care, equipment and essential medical supplies.

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