Amid reports that troops loyal to Libyan Col. Muammar Qaddafi may be waging a campaign of rape against women, International Medical Corps has stepped up its training of local psychiatrists, psychologists and nurses in the provision of psychological first aid for survivors.
International Medical Corps prioritizes the provision of mental health services during emergencies, and its teams for the Libya response continue to train frontline health care workers on psychological first aid services. In addition, they have conducted gender-based violence awareness and sensitivity training for local health workers to support survivors of sexual assaults.
Meantime, International Medical Corps continues to address critical shortages of humanitarian supplies throughout the country, as well as deliver medical care in cities such as Benghazi that are receiving large numbers of casualties evacuated from Misurata in western Libya. In response to an increasing number of amputee victims, it is working to establish a rehabilitation center in Benghazi to provide ongoing medical services. It is also helping support specialized clinics in Libya, including the procurement of needed antiretroviral and TB medications with assistance from International Medical Corps’ network of gift-in-kind partners.
In the western city of Misurata, the situation remains critical, despite rebel forces’ recent gains. To respond to the city’s urgent medical needs, International Medical Corps is providing emergency care including intensive and surgical care in Misurata. In addition, teams are working to evacuate casualties by boat and air to facilities in Benghazi and Jordan and to send in vital medical supplies to hospitals, including trauma and surgical kits.
In addition, International Medical Corps has delivered shipments of medicines and food supplies, including more than 10,000 kilos in food aid. The team continues to deliver additional supplies to Misurata, Zintan, Nalut and the Western Mountain region which are in dire need of chemotherapy drugs, consumables, infusions, anesthetics, and analgesics.
At the Tunisia-Libya border, International Medical Corps provided emergency services to those injured at the Dehibat Hospital. However, due to unrest at the R’as Ajdir border and Choucha camp, International Medical Corps was forced to suspend its health post at the transit facility. As health care services are still needed, International Medical Corps will resume health post activities as soon as security permits. The team in Tunisia continues to focus on procuring and sending essential supplies into western Libya and has supplies prepositioned to send to Nalut and Zintan as soon as possible.
Since the conflict began in late February, more than 807,000 people have fled the violence to neighboring countries, primarily Tunisia and Egypt, where International Medical Corps has been providing ongoing care.