PORTLAND, Ore. – The humanitarian organization Mercy Corps has sent a team of experts to Libya to assess how the agency might help address urgent needs stemming from the political crisis engulfing the country. The team is expected to arrive in Libya later this week.
“With change sweeping across Libya and other parts of the region, Mercy Corps stands at the ready to address immediate humanitarian needs, and to bolster longer-term development, civic engagement and governance efforts,” says Mercy Corps CEO Neal Keny-Guyer. “It is critical that countries emerge from the current unrest with a renewed commitment to justice and prosperity for all people.”
The Libya assessment team is led by Steve Haley, who currently directs Mercy Corps programs in Lebanon and formerly held the same post in northern Iraq. The team's first goal is to determine current and projected humanitarian needs. Violence and displacement caused by the political upheaval could have dramatic impact on critical services, such as health, as well as the availability of food and water.
There may also be significant humanitarian needs stemming from the flow of refugees into neighboring countries, including Egypt. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, approximately 100,000 migrant workers have fled Libya in the past week.
The team plans to meet with community leaders to determine what role Mercy Corps can best play in meeting humanitarian needs and supporting Libya's potential political transition.
The two-week assessment builds on Mercy Corps' robust emergency response, economic development and governance work in five countries in the Middle East, plus the West Bank and Gaza.
In the region, Mercy Corps responds to immediate humanitarian needs such as food and water shortages; works with communities to build roads, schools, and other infrastructure; empowers youth leaders through its Global Citizen Corps program; and nurtures civil society organizations -- from parent-teacher associations to farmers' co-ops -- that are integral to well-functioning democracies.