Situation in Libya - latest updates
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The UK's response to the humanitarian situation in Libya
Summary of UK aid in Libya
The UK has played its full part in providing essential aid to help those affected by conflict. Our support has been based on humanitarian needs with a clear focus on delivering results. We continue to work with other donors and international partners to assess the situation and provide appropriate support.
To date, Britain has:
- Funded the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to provide urgent medical help, food and supplies for thousands of people
- Supported the World Health Organization (WHO) to meet urgent medical needs, including supplies, equipment and trained medical staff
- Provided support for mine clearance in Misrata, Benghazi and other affected areas to help ensure the safety of more than a million people
- Supported the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) to evacuate vulnerable migrant workers and injured civilians stranded in Misrata
- Flown at least 12,700 migrant workers trapped on the Egyptian and Tunisian borders back to their countries and their families. This prevented a logistical problem at the borders becoming a humanitarian crisis
- Provided tents and blankets to people at the borders, as well as civilians inside the country who were driven out of their homes by the fighting. This emergency shelter was potentially life-saving during cold desert nights
25 May 2012
Andrew Mitchell welcomes Libyan PM
Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell met the Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim Al-Kib at DFID’s offices in London on Thursday 24 May.
Following the meeting, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:
“Since its liberation in October 2011, Libya has seen real and meaningful improvements. I told Prime Minister Al-Kib that I had been impressed by the progress the Transitional Government had made towards the upcoming elections and in improving security.
“Prime Minister Al-Kib expressed his thanks for the role the UK had played in providing essential humanitarian aid to help those affected by the conflict in Libya, including medical aid, food and shelter for people driven out of their homes, funding for demining work and tents, blankets and flights home for migrant workers trapped on the Egyptian and Tunisian borders.”
“I noted that I was pleased to be providing Libya with a senior police adviser to assist the Ministry of the Interior with its work to improve policing and security. Through our Arab Partnership support to Arab Spring countries, we will also be funding a resident IMF adviser to help improve management and transparency in how public funds are spent.
“I also expressed my hope that Libya will look to access funding that we make available for economic development through the World Bank, International Finance Corporation and the African Development Bank.”
16 February 2012
One year on in Libya
Twelve months since the popular uprising began, UK aid continues to help the Libyan people – backed by the wider support of the British Government.
New support announced today includes funding for further mine clearance work through the United Nations, which will nearly double the one million people Britain has so far helped to protect from unexploded ordnance.
Further ongoing help will focus on supporting the Transitional Government as Libya’s people adapt to political and economic change and lay the foundations of a functioning democracy. This will include a UK senior police advisor working with the Ministry of Interior to develop a plan for Libya’s immediate policing needs.
We stand ready to provide further support, which would be delivered in response to Libyan owned and led solutions and in coordination with the UN.
23 October 2011
Libyan declaration of national liberation
Welcoming the National Transitional Council’s official declaration of the liberation of Libya, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:
“The UK was one of the first to provide vital humanitarian support to those affected by the conflict in Libya. Our early action in providing emergency shelter supplies and flying people home from the border camps helped prevent a logistical problem from developing into a humanitarian crisis.
“In Misrata, the UK provided essential support including the emergency evacuation of nearly 5,000 vulnerable migrant workers and injured civilians. Our support has also contributed to providing surgical teams and medicines for war-wounded patients and emergency shelter for people driven out of their homes by ongoing fighting, as well as enabling work to protect up to one million people from unexploded devices. We remain ready to provide further support as needed.
“Now that liberation has been declared, we will continue to work with the NTC as they lead the process of post-conflict transition, supported by the UN. It is essential that we support Libyan owned and led solutions – this is a Libyan victory.
“In May, we sent an International Stabilisation Response team (ISRT) to Libya to identify the immediate challenges facing the Libyan people and suggest how the international community could respond in a clear, coordinated and effective way. Since then, the NTC have set out their own stabilisation plan and at their request we have deployed experts to support their plans on policing and finance and support on deminining. We stand ready to continue to provide assistance to support a Libyan led transition as required. Today’s events are an important step forward in this process.”
17 October 2011
New British support for mine clearing work in Libya
The UK is making available further support for de-mining activities by the UN Mine Action Service, the Foreign Secretary announced during a visit to Tripoli today.
This will enable them to expand emergency mine clearance work, including in the areas of Sirte and Bani Walid, and will contribute to assisting thousands of people to return to their homes.
The details of this support will be developed with UNMAS when humanitarian agencies have full access to these areas. UK support to demining activities will contribute to protecting over 1 million people from the deadly threat posed by mines and other explosive remnants of war.
The UK remains committed to supporting the Libyan led transition and protecting the civilian population. Now the conflict is over in most of the country, our priority is supporting the return to normal life for the Libyan people.
15 September 2011
David Cameron pledges UK support to clear landmines in Libya
British aid will help protect around a million people in Libya from the threat of deadly landmines the Prime Minister said today as he announced new support for vital mines clearance and safety work during a visit to Libya.
The new UK aid will help Libyans to return safely to the homes and businesses they have fled. It will go through the Mines Advisory Group - known as MAG. It will contribute to:
Getting mobile teams to the west of Libya and the northern coastal region to mark areas where there are landmines Working with the UN’s Joint Mines Action Co-ordination Team to ensure that hazardous areas are quickly cleared Providing emergency mines risk education to communities to ensure people returning to conflict areas – including children – are aware of the risks
27 August 2011
New British support to meet urgent humanitarian needs in Libya
Britain will provide urgent humanitarian support including medical help, food and other basic supplies for thousands of people affected by the conflict in Libya, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced today.
This new support, which comes from Britain’s development budget, will contribute to:
- providing surgical teams and medicines for the treatment of up to 5,000 war-wounded patients, and boosting local medical staff’s expertise in war surgery techniques
- helping to reunite families who have been separated by the conflict as well as moving civilians at immediate risk from fighting to safe areas nearby
- providing food for nearly 690,000 people and essential household items for a similar number of people forced out of home by the fighting.
This new British support will go through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which has had a permanent presence in Tripoli since mid-April and is getting medical supplies and staff in to hospitals in the city.
15 July 2011
International community working to protect Libyan people
The UK and international partners reaffirmed their support to protect civilians caught up in the conflict at the Libya Contact Group meeting in Istanbul today.
Following the meeting, Foreign Secretary William Hague said:
“The Contact Group’s decision to deal with the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the legitimate governing authority in Libya, reflects the NTC’s increasing legitimacy, competence and success in reaching out to all Libyans.
“We are committed to seeing this through as shown by our announcement today to send a further four tornadoes to protect civilians in Libya.
“We will continue to support the NTC and are looking at how we can further contribute to Libya’s immediate and future needs, in addition to the material and humanitarian support we have already provided.
“Only today we delivered 5,000 high visibility vests and 5,000 high visibility t-shirts for civilian police in Benghazi. The uniforms will help the re-establishment of a civilian security presence on the streets and will strengthen the capability of the NTC police to provide security in the areas under their control.”
4 June 2011
William Hague and Andrew Mitchell visit Benghazi
Foreign Secretary William Hague and Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell travelled to Benghazi today to demonstrate their support for the National Transitional Council and discuss the Council’s plans for a political roadmap for the future of Libya.
Talks were focussed on recent progress against Colonel Qadhafi and UK assistance to help meet the Libyan people’s humanitarian needs, as well as looking ahead to the future development of the country. The Foreign Secretary and Development Secretary made clear that all the UK’s military, diplomatic and developmental actions were strategically aligned.
The Ministers reaffirmed their support for the NTC as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people and stressed the importance of developing plans for a competent, inclusive and transparent administration that includes clear civilian control of military and regional representation.
The International Development Secretary also announced new UK support for the clearance of mines in Misrata, Benghazi and other affected areas to help ensure the safety of 200,000 people. Of some 4000 wounded persons that have been treated in Misrata alone so far, over 400 have reportedly required limb amputations. Clearing mines will help to ensure the people’s safety but also help communities to return to normal life.
Speaking before the visit, Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:
“Britain is playing a key role in helping the people of Libya who are suffering at the hands of Colonel Qaddafi. The support I am announcing today for the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) will clear areas of life-shattering mines, preventing the indiscriminate killing of many men, women and children.
“We have already supported refugees on the borders, helped migrant workers to return home, and evacuated people from Misrata to protect them from the ongoing violence. Within Libya we have provided food and medical supplies. Today we are seeing our support in action, and hearing what else may be needed. “It is crucial to help meet immediate needs. But the future of Libya lies in the hands of the Libyan people. That is why we are here, to discuss with the NTC how they plan to bring peace, stability and economic development to their country.”
24 May 2011
New stabilisation team will look at support needed to rebuild Libya
The first ever international Stabilisation Response Team has arrived in Libya. The team of 11 stabilisation experts will assess what the country will need in the period ahead of a political settlement, with a view to supporting post conflict planning by the UN.
The team will help inform a co-ordinated international response to interim needs, drawing on its range of experts in areas such as economics, infrastructure, essential public services, security and justice systems and politics. The core team will be provided by Britain and will also include representatives from international partners including Italy and Denmark, with others set to join in the coming weeks including the EU.
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, the Cabinet Minister with responsibility for Stabilisation, said:
“The UK has provided immediate humanitarian help for those affected by the conflict in Libya, from helping migrant workers return home to providing medical and emergency food supplies.
“We will continue to do so, but the international community also needs to start thinking strategically about what is needed now to help lay the foundations for a stable, secure Libya.
“That’s why an international Stabilisation Response Team is now on the ground in Libya to assess what support the country may need. Future plans could range from rebuilding the economy and infrastructure to supporting the National Transitional Council to deliver services for the people of Eastern Libya and ensuring that people are safe and secure.”
24 May 2011
British support for Misrata rescue effort reaches 5,000 migrant workers
UK aid has enabled the successful evacuation of a further 600 poor migrant workers from Misrata, as well as civilians who were wounded during the two month siege of the city.
The evacuation, carried out by the International Organisation for Migration, also carried in 280 tons of food aid. Britain has now supported the rescue of around 5,000 migrant workers, wounded civilians and their families since mid-April, as well as the delivery of nearly 2,100 tons of essential humanitarian supplies into the city.
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:
“A month ago, we promised we would help to get thousands of innocent civilians caught up in the fighting in Misrata back to safety. Today we make good on that promise, with British funding now having helped with the evacuation of around 5,000 people.
“As well as reaching poor migrant workers left in Misrata, this latest evacuation ensures that wounded civilians can receive much-needed medical help from facilities in Benghazi. The assessment team that arrived on the ship will also be able to get a better idea of needs as the city starts to rebuild itself and look towards the future.”
4 May 2011
British funded aid ship arrives in Misrata to evacuate migrant workers
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell welcomed the arrival of the ship. He said:
“This morning a British-funded humanitarian ship - the International Organisation for Migration’s Red Star One – successfully docked in Misrata port.
“The ship had been waiting to enter the port since 30 April. Ongoing military activity by Qadhafi troops meant that it was forced to sit out at sea for five days, in an unacceptable delay to critical, life-saving assistance.
“Now in Misrata, Red Star One will deliver vital aid and evacuate and rescue around 1,000 migrant workers. This means that British funded ships will have helped to rescue around 4,000 people.
“We are extremely concerned that ongoing fighting in Misrata risks preventing other humanitarian ships from docking.
“The Qadhafi regime continues to shell the port area, and the security situation is made worse by mines they have laid in the water.
“I strongly condemn the fact that humanitarian vessels are being prevented from carrying out their duties.
“We demand unfettered humanitarian access so that this urgent work can be continued.”
21 April 2011
More UK aid reaches Misrata
Another ship carrying British aid has reached the besieged city of Misrata. The latest shipment - organised by UNICEF and part funded by the UK - brought more support to those caught up in the fighting yesterday. The relief ship delivered vital hygiene and medical kits for families across the city, including:
- 5,000 family hygiene kits to help stop the spread of germs
- Water purification kits, so that 25,000 people have safe water to drink
- First aid kits for 3,000 people to help the sick and wounded
- Jerry cans for 15,000 people
- Infant hygiene kits for 2,000 children
18 April 2011
Britain to provide emergency evacuations and medical aid for Libya
Britain is to help 5,000 people trapped in Misrata escape the besieged city and will provide vital medical assistance to those who remain in towns across western Libya, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced from New York today.
The emergency evacuations will be carried out by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and will get foreign workers who have managed to reach Misrata’s port safely out of the town. Britain will also fund International Medical Corps (IMC) to provide critical medical aid for those caught up in the violence across western Libya. The IMC will:
- send in five-person volunteer surgical and trauma teams to medical facilities;
- provide medical supplies including antibiotics and analgesics, bandages and first aid kits and surgical equipment, to treat the wounded and for other general medical care needs, as well as food supplies for hospital patients;
- provide emergency evacuations for the most severely sick and injured to Benghazi and other facilities outside of Libya if necessary
Andrew Mitchell is in New York today to meet with leading figures in the United Nations, including UNICEF, UNDP, the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs and other senior diplomats, to consider what more can be done to relieve the suffering of people living in flashpoints across Libya. Mr Mitchell will use his visit to discuss plans for better access for aid, medical supplies and other humanitarian assistance, and to consider how to speed up crucial transit times.
13 April 2011
British humanitarian support for Libya continues
Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell said today that he remains deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Libya.
Regarding reports from UNICEF that an increased number of children had been killed in Misrata as a result of the fighting, British International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:
“These UNICEF reports underline our deep concern about the humanitarian situation throughout Libya and the effect of Qadhafi’s actions on children and all vulnerable civilians.
“We are particularly concerned about Misrata, where thirty tonnes of medicines, food, water purification tablets and midwife kits from Britain were delivered over the weekend.
“We continue to seek ways of assisting - particularly in Misrata.”
07 April 2011
Relief ship delivers vital British aid to Misrata
A relief ship carrying British-funded medical and emergency food supplies has successfully reached the port of the besieged town of Misrata, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell confirmed today.
The Marianne Danica was chartered by the UN’s World Food Programme and was loaded with aid, including crucial supplies for UNICEF funded by DFID. This breakthrough shipment of aid for Libyan people caught up in the fighting includes:
- Medicine for 30,000 people for one month
- High energy protein biscuits for 10,000 children and adults
- Water purification kits for 2,000 families so they have safe water to drink
- Hygiene kits for 2,000 families to help prevent the spread of germs
- Obstetric and midwifery kits for 200 births
- Books and toys for 3,750 children
This is the largest shipment of British-funded aid to reach Misrata, providing crucial help for those who have been largely cut off to date. It will help the sick and wounded, and those who have been unable to get the medical help they need because of constraints on movement. There are serious and ongoing concerns about the current humanitarian situation following continuous fighting around the town.
06 April 2011
House of Commons debate on Libya
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell yesterday led a parliamentary debate on Britain’s contribution to humanitarian relief and Libya.
02 April 2011
UK to help over 10,000 displaced Libyans
Britain will provide emergency shelter for more than 10,000 people driven out of their homes by ongoing fighting in Libya, the International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced today.
As a matter of urgency, 2,100 tents will be flown out from UK stocks in Dubai to provide potentially life saving shelter during cold desert nights. The tents will be distributed by the Libyan Red Crescent to those most in need - including women, children and the sick – particularly around the Ajdabiya area in the conflict-affected North East of Libya.
01 April 2011
The International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell, and the Turkish Foreign Minister have agreed to cooperate to meet urgent needs in Libya by establishing a joint humanitarian unit in Ankara. The UK will provide a humanitarian expert to the unit.
30 March 2011
The London Conference yesterday brought together over 40 Foreign Ministers and international organisations, including the UN Secretary General, Secretary of State Clinton, and the PM of Qatar, and agreed to support a process which would lead to a better future for the people of Libya.
- Strengthened the coalition in support of the implementation of UNSCRs 1970 and 1973.
- Accepted the UN’s offer to co-ordinate humanitarian aid for the civilian population of Libya and lead the planning of longer-term stabilisation.
- Established a political process to support the people of Libya in choosing their own future.
- Agreed to establish an Libya Contact Group to take this work forward.
29 March 2011
The UK will today host the London Conference on Libya to discuss the situation in Libya with allies and partners.
25 March 2011
Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that the UK will host an international conference on Libya in London on 29 March.
18 March 2011
Britain will support additional emergency evacuation flights for people who have fled to the Libya-Tunisia border, in light of concerns that numbers reaching the border camp look set to keep growing.
The new flights will be delivered through the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and will allow 6,000 poor migrant workers – predominantly from Bangladesh, but also Vietnamese, Ghanaians, Sudanese and Nigerians – to return to their home countries.
09 March 2011
The British Government will fund the International Committee of the Red Cross, enabling them to provide three medical teams to treat and provide medical supplies to 3000 people affected by the ongoing fighting in Libya.
The UK will also provide food and supplies to 100,000 of those most in need. This follows International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell’s visit to the area on Friday.
The latest support from Britain will deliver:
- Funding for the ICRC to provide three medical/surgical teams, supplies, food and essential items like hygiene kits to vulnerable people still inside Libya
- Support for the Egyptian and Tunisian Red Crescent Societies working at the borders to help them ensure that families separated during their flight from Libya can reconnect
06 March 2011
The British Government will provide emergency evacuation flights to repatriate 500 Bangladeshis stranded in Tunisia after the International Development Secretary assessed the scale of the humanitarian situation for himself during a visit to a Libyan border camp.
During his time in the transit camp just beyond the border area near Rad Ajdir on Friday, Andrew Mitchell met some of the 191,693 displaced migrant workers who have been leaving Libya, including many from Bangladesh.
Following his visit, the British Government will provide three commercial charter planes to fly 500 Bangladeshis home. The planes will leave Tunisia’s Djerba airport for Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka today (Sun 6 March).
This comes after the UK flew 6,195 Egyptians away from the camps and back to Cairo following the UN’s request for international assistance to get those people out and home. Blankets and tents were also delivered to provide shelter for up to 7,500 people.
05 March 2011
Over 5,500 Egyptians return home on DFID flights
The UK funded DFID/IOM emergency air evacuation has now transported over 5,500 Egyptians from Tunisia to Cairo. The operation continues today.
In the meantime, DFID is in close contact with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on how we can help return home other third country nationals who are stuck on the border.
04 March 2011
Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell arrived at the Libyan Tunisian border today to see for himself the situation on the ground and understand what more Britain can do to help avoid a major humanitarian crisis.
Spending time in the transit camp just beyond the border area near Ras Ajdir, the Development Secretary met some of the 179,925 displaced migrant workers who have been leaving Libya since 20 February.
Speaking from the Libyan Tunisian border, Andrew Mitchell announced that the UK will send two air logistics officers to support the increasingly pressurised Djerba airport, now the hub for incoming humanitarian supplies and outgoing repatriation flights as individuals are evacuated from the border.
The air logistics experts will work directly for the UNHCR and the Tunisian authorities to ensure the smooth running of the airlift operation.
In addition, a second UK flight carrying tents and blankets will leave Dubai today for the camps. They will deliver 2,000 blankets and 1,100 tents to provide shelter for 5,500 people. This follows the first contingent of 36,000 blankets and tents to shelter 1,500 people on Tuesday.
Three UK charter planes continue to work on rotation to fly people away from the camps and back to Cairo, relieving the pressure on the border and the transit camp.
So far, 12 flights have left Djerba carrying 3,135 people to Cairo where they are being met by the Egyptian authorities.
03 March 2011
As of 1600 GMT today, a total of 1,135 people affected by the unrest in Libya have been flown on five UK-chartered flights from Tunisia to Cairo. Further flights are expected to depart later today.
02 March 2011
UK to provide emergency relief flights for Libya crisis victims
The British Government will provide emergency evacuation flights to repatriate up to six thousand people stranded in Tunisia to prevent the humanitarian situation on the border with Libya spiralling further into disaster, the Prime Minister David Cameron announced today.
The move comes following the UN’s request for international assistance to get those people out and home. At least 85,000 people have crossed the border between Libya and Tunisia so far and many are stranded in hastily organised camps. Thousands of migrants are still sleeping in the open.
The UK Government is providing three commercial charter planes on rotation to fly people away from the camps back to their home, as the most effective method of helping tackle this emerging humanitarian disaster.
The first two planes are scheduled to leave East Midlands and Stansted airports today. They will fly to Djerba airport in Tunisia to collect stranded migrants and fly them to Cairo where they will be met by the Egyptian authorities.
The Department for International Development has already flown 36,000 blankets and tents for 1,500 people in Tunisia and remains in close contact with the UN and others to get more relief supplies in and people out.
Andrew Mitchell, International Development Secretary said:
“There is a real danger that without urgent assistance the humanitarian situation on the Libyan border will deteriorate rapidly.
“We are deeply concerned that the large number of migrant workers fleeing Libya lack even basic shelter and face a shortage of food and clean water.
“We must act now to stop the situation deteriorating. Our evacuation flights are vital if we are to stop this humanitarian emergency from becoming a crisis.
“We call on others from the international community to follow our lead and help get these people out of the desperate situation they are in and home to their families.”
01 March 2011
There remains a real danger of a humanitarian crisis unfolding further. We are acutely conscious of the risks of shortages and are monitoring the situation closely.
Currently the most pressing need is assisting the large numbers of migrant workers into Egypt and Tunisia to get home.
The International Development Secretary has dispatched humanitarian and stabilisation teams to both borders to help with this.
A relief flight carrying aid supplies from the British Government departed from Dubai earlier today and has arrived in Tunisia. The flight contains 36,000 blankets and 300 tents to provide much needed shelter for at least 1,500 refugees who have fled over the Libyan border.
The tents and blankets will now be handed over to the UNHCR who will deliver them on the ground.
We are prepared to deploy further supplies from DFID’s emergency stockpile as necessary.
28 February 2011
Prime Minister David Cameron made a statement on the situation in Libya to the House of Commons today, 28 February 2011:
“Mr Speaker, everyone hopes this situation will be resolved quickly but there is a real danger now of a humanitarian crisis inside Libya.
“We are acutely conscious of the risks of shortages and are monitoring the situation closely. We have dispatched technical teams to be in place at both the Tunisian and Egyptian borders. Currently the most pressing need is assisting the large numbers of migrant workers into Egypt and Tunisia to get home.
“Tomorrow, in response to a request from the UN, Britain will fly in tents and blankets from our stocks in Dubai for use at the Tunisian border.
“The International Development Secretary will be visiting the region later this week to assess the situation on the ground for himself.”
27 February 2011
Our team in Egypt is en route to the Libyan border now, in convoy with an Embassy team. Another team is due to land in Tunis shortly and we are working to deploy them to the border with Libya also.
Reports from humanitarian experts in Eastern Libya indicate that food and medical supplies are available with markets open. Tens of thousands of people are leaving Libya through the Tunisian and Egyptian borders but reports so far are that these movements are orderly and are being well handled by the respective authorities.
We remain very concerned about the humanitarian implications of the situation and are following developments closely.
26 February 2011
Humanitarian specialists from the British Government are now on the ground in Egypt and are preparing to make their way to the Libyan border.
The team are assessing how Britain and the international community can best assist the region as the situation develops. We are monitoring the movement of people from Libya to Tunisia and Egypt.
In particular, we are actively assessing the need for supplies from HMG’s humanitarian stockpile based in Dubai.
The Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell and his officials are in close contact with a range of international humanitarian agencies to discuss their assessment of the situation.
25 February 2011
Britain is actively engaged in monitoring the humanitarian situation in Libya as it develops and is developing plans to cover any eventuality.
The International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell is in close touch with a range of international humanitarian agencies. He has spoken to Valerie Amos, Head of UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Jehangir Malik, UK Director of Islamic Relief, to discuss their assessment of the situation.