Acting now while planning for Libya's long-term needs

Libya, June 1, 2011

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  <span class="field-credit">
    courtesy of Hussein Boaud  </span>
    Mercy Corps staffer Andrew Lucas at the orphanage in Misrata that we're helping through deliveries of much-needed supplies. Photo: courtesy of Hussein Boaud
  <span class="field-credit">
    courtesy of Hussein Boaud  </span>
    Conducting assessments in the streets of war-wracked Misrata. Photo: courtesy of Hussein Boaud

As the crisis in Libya nears the four-month mark, Mercy Corps has stepped up both immediate assistance and long-term support to Libyan families.

Since our team arrived in Libya in early March, they've been working in two of the most conflict-affected areas — Benghazi and Misrata — to coordinate and lead humanitarian relief efforts. We currently have 16 staff on the ground.

Right now, Mercy Corps' work in Libya is focused on emergency provisions for vulnerable people, sanitation, food security and psychosocial support to children. We've recently delivered critical items to an orphanage in Misrata, and are planning a distribution of shoes, bottles and cleaning supplies in the coming days. The needs for assistance are widespread in Misrata, a city that was under siege for several weeks and badly damaged by the ongoing conflict.

We continue to conduct assessments, assist partner organizations and support food distributions in Misrata.

We're working with farmers around the city of Benghazi to ensure sufficient food supply for Libya's markets. Food availability has fluctuated and prices have spiked as a result of the current conflict. Our team is committed to helping farms get going again, which will make food prices more affordable to impoverished Libyan families.

We're also exploring the possibility of bringing our signature Comfort for Kids and Moving Forward programs to war-affected children in Misrata. These programs — which have helped thousands of kids in post-disaster areas including Haiti, China and Japan — will help Libyan children recover from the violence and trauma that have gripped their lives over the last few months.

Other programs that our team is providing important support for a citizen-led cleanup of debris and trash from neighborhoods in Benghazi, and establishment of a humanitarian coordination hub in Misrata to help organize relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts.

The situation in Libya continues to be uncertain and traumatic for families trapped by violence — Mercy Corps is making sure that their immediate needs are met while planning for a more hopeful future.