Officials Provide Update on Current U.S. Humanitarian Assistance Efforts in Libya

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
April 25, 2011
Refugees from Libya Wait for Food Distribution

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Reuben Brigety and USAID Director of Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance Mark Bartolini provided an update on current U.S. humanitarian assistance efforts in Libya on April 25, 2011.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Brigety said, "The United States Government continues to provide aid to the people of Libya. To date, we've committed $47 million toward humanitarian assistance. There have been some optimistic changes over the last two or three days, but conditions continue to be difficult to assess in many areas due to security.

"In Misrata, as you've heard, there's been some pullback of forces; however, there's still intense shelling of the city. And you've seen the reports that 32 people were killed on Saturday and 8 people were killed on Sunday. We don't have verification of those numbers, but we know that shelling is continuing.

"In general, conditions in the east, around the Benghazi area, are remaining stable. There's not significant humanitarian needs there; however, we are doing a significant amount of pre-positioning and we've been working with a number of partners, both international organizations and nongovernmental organization partners, for about a month now in terms of trying to build capacity of organizations that heretofore have not experience operating in Libya.

"In the west, we have some significant concerns, and we have, again, sort of limited visibility in some areas due to security issues. But some of our partners are getting in periodically and delivering aid. And that's also, as you know from press reports, been the case in Misrata as well. The International Committee of the Red Cross, IOM has been taking third-country nationals out of the port. We estimate right now there are approximately 2,000 remaining in the port, between 1,500 and 2,000, and IOM is continuing -- is planning on doing another trip in to remove those people, evacuate those people.

"We know there are some medical needs in Misrata, in particular doctors who are operating in these surgical theaters are quite exhausted, so we're rotating doctors with some of our partners, bringing in their staff. And there are ongoing medical needs. We continue to, however, get supplies in. One of the problems is that we've had to move around medical supplies and food supplies in Misrata because of attacks by pro-government forces and there's been some logistics issues around that. So we are, also through our partners, providing some logistical support to try to better facilitate that.

"One other issue that I'll mention is that we're pleased to announce today that the first shipment of Food for Peace, Title II food, arrived in Alexandria today. And that will be, through WFP's logistical supply routes in the region, be deployed to -- pre-deployed to certain areas in and around Libya."

USAID Director Bartolini followed Deputy Assistant Secretary Brigety. He said, "Since the beginning of the conflict, there has been a substantial and, frankly, slightly unusual displacement of people across the six borders that surround Libya. Some 550,000 people have fled Libya as of April 24th. The nature of that population is slightly unusual from a typical humanitarian crisis in that most of the people who are leaving Libya are not actually nationals of Libya. So what you have are people that are third-country nationals leaving a country that is not their home, going to another country that is not their home.

"And as a result of this substantial outflow, the international community, organized through the International Organization of Migration and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, launched a substantial humanitarian air bridge, as it were, to help evacuate many tens of thousands of these people back to their home countries. That process continues. This is one of the largest international humanitarian airlifts in history. The current outflow of people as of today is about 5,000 people, again, across the majority of those six borders. The majority of those 5,000 are coming across into Tunisia and into Egypt.

"The U.S. Government has committed some $47 million worth of assistance to Libya thus far: $13 million to the International Organization of Migration to support the humanitarian air evacuation; $10 million to the World Food Program for various food operations; another $7 million to UNHCR mainly to support the camp populations, mostly in Tunisia and Egypt, of third-country migrants, another $7 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross; and then another $10 million to support NGOs as needed."

You can read the complete remarks from the special briefing here.



South Korea
April 26, 2011

Palgye in South Korea writes:

forgive italia, save lybia..

William S.
South Carolina, USA
April 26, 2011

William S. in South Carolina writes:

I know we can not afford another war, but is it possible to properly equip the Libyan Rebels to defend themselves. They have little chance of overthrowing Gaddafi without some help.

April 27, 2011

W. writes:

Democratic Election must be Guaranteed in Libya leaving the opportunity to Libyan Civilians to VOTE for Barabbas...

New Mexico, USA
April 27, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

It's interesting to note the debate going on across the pond and the responses given to "back benchers" in the House of Commons by the UK Foreign Secretary.


[ British Foreign Secretary William Hague discussed the situation in North Africa and the Middle East before the British House of Commons, where he defended the U.K.'s role in the NATO campaign in Libya.

In defense of NATO's involvement, Hague said, "If it goes right, it will be one of the greatest advances in human freedom." ]



In the long run, what defines success is whether or not having self-limited the notion of "all neccessary measures" to not include boots on the ground, nor the removal of Ghaddafi and sons by force would inherantly inhibit the protection of the Lybian people as mandated by UN Sec. Council resolutions.

It is hard for me to think of these things in terms of "mission creep" when all options by neccesity must remain on the table to get the job done.

Now if this doesn't work out with those limitations in place as a legal interpretation of the limits of a UN resolution that has the word "all" in the context of saving lives, then folks have their proof that they have not done all that was neccessary.

It then becomes no "stalemate" such, but a self-inflicted catch-22 by all the suffering caused through international legal interpretations of which fail to adequately protect populations fully or honor the UN's mandate thereby.

Folks have been calling for Ghaddafi to "leave" for two months on now.

Well we haven't properly incentivized that in his mind is all.

What I would suggest therefore since he's still not a designated "legitimate target" is to render him homeless, and target his personal dwellings and compounds.

If he's home, that's just too bad, "we can't garrantee his safety".

Nor should we afford him "safe haven" if as the Sec. of State said, Ghaddafi is "terrorizing" his people.

After having rendered a half million homeless, it is inconcievable to me why folks allow him to sleep soundly in his own bed.

And as long as shells fall on civilians, preventing humanitarian aid reaching them and the one giving those orders is yet still free to give those orders then folks are right now at this point in time failing to fulfil the UN mandate they all signed onto, whether abstaining from the vote aproving it or not.

Whether time is on Nato's side or seen as not on Ghaddafi's, I think the right honorable Foreign Secretary and Sec. Clinton would no doubt agree that time is definately not on the side of the Lybian people if having "patience" fails to deliver relief.

So again I ask, at what point does Ghaddafi's removal (by force or other means) become humanitarian relief?

There is no "blurring of lines" in the asking when one cannot be achieved without the other.

The peace folks seek to achieve is fully dependant upon the answer to this question and thus becomes a integrated means to achieving success, or if after failing to link the two in rational implementation, dooms this noble effort to failure.


New Mexico, USA
April 28, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Part 1 of 2

British Secretary of State for Defence Liam Fox's remarks today before committee in reference to "reasonable and proportionate measures" as governing the limitations of UN resolution 1973 mandating "all neccessary measures" to protect civilian populations is blowing my mind and I quote him directly, "..and I go back to our whole aim of what we are trying to achieve in Lybia, which is to ensure that men, women and children can sleep safely in their beds without fear of being attacked by Ghaddafi's forces."

This quote comes @ 11:30 into the following video c-span coverage which I had not had the chance to view before writing; "After having rendered a half million homeless, it is inconcievable to me why folks allow him to sleep soundly in his own bed.(referring to Ghaddafi in my previous post)


What will remain eternally within the historical record as a peculiar case of parallel reference ( as c-span had not aired this prior to my posting) I may not be qualified to judge the merits of the converse application involved, but I think rather it should provide sustinance to the debate on both sides of the pond.

No doubt no one intends to "impose" an outside will manifest upon the Lybian people, in their choice of government...that wouldn't even be an issue for debate as the reason the international community in one voice has defined the Ghaddafi regime as "illegitimate" precicely because the Lybian people have defined it as such by his making war upon them.

And so If ( and a big if indeed)it be the opinion of the "powers that be" that in some small mysterious way this citizen finds himself on the cutting edge of a critical debate in an effort to achieve universal understanding in these matters; then let me just suggest to one and all that a civilian doesn't pick up arms to "change the behavior" of a regime because he finds his family to be targeted by it, he's doing his best to remove it as a threat by force.

So proceed accordingly ( if one intends to honor the will of the Lybian people) in light of what the Lybian people themselves consider to be "reasonable and proportionate" as they ask you for help in their struggle for what most refer to as "regime change" but looks a lot more like regime replacement therapy ultimately leading to a democratic process if done right.


New Mexico, USA
April 28, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

part 2 cont...

The opposition and civilians involved are not neccesarily the only one's having issues with strategy and tactics.

I don't mean this to be taken as a slight by anyone for their hard efforts, this is simply a recognition of a debate taking place, even while the firm decisions limiting engagement be in place and outcomes stemming from those
remain murky and uncertain indeed by all accounts.

Here's a real nut to crack...

If the TNC were to ask NATO via petition through the UN to use "all neccessary measures" to directly remove Ghaddafi from the picture politically and militarily by force, would that request then negate the notion of "a force of occupation" being applicable definition of any sized force needed to achieve that aim, concurrent with the need to protect the population itself?

I mean what might folks consider to be "overwhelming presence" might be deemed on the "Goldilocks scale" of "reasonable and proportionate" ( ala-just right) by the Lybian people at risk to be barely adequate and never before contemplated on such a scale as this internationally since UN peackeeping was first a gleam in a UN Sec. General's eye.

I have to wonder if Lybia is becoming a UN protectorate in coming to the aid of a people requesting it, and if so...who would become "the occupiers" if not the Lybian people themselves?

The nations involved would be just passing through to create a space for the UN to protect the population in their transitional period between chaos and stability.

There has been a politlcally fear based conceptual framework moulded by catch phrases and inadequate definitions invoked by the press and I hope what it is that can be achieved becomes clear as the path to getting there is not a clash of tactics, but a melding process of them in achieving the desired results from both the political and
military ends of the spectrum.

This notion of a "failed state" is not an issue, Lybia is and is fast becoming a destroyed state.

When you have a despot making war on his people declared by all to have lost all legitimacy and on the other hand you have a transitional assembly of folks barely stood up as recognizable, the economy shatttered and in tatters, this is a non functioning state for a nation to be in, no doubt about it.

The rubble NATO may create is nothing compared to Ghaddafi's wholsale rubblizing of cities and their inhabitants.

Wouldn't conform to the mission statement for one if we wern't concerned with civilian casualties, and if between 10 and 30 thousand have died since Ghaddafi went off his nut, it's fair to assume the longer he's running amok, the greater that toll will be.

Here's some sticky logic;

If Ghaddfi is a terrorist and we target for assasination the top leadership of al-quaida because they are terrorists, why doesn't Ghaddafi have a bull's eye painted on his forehead yet?

I challenge any member of this administration to answer that.

I personally think he likes the idea of becoming the world's target, for in his eyes it gives him a sense of legitimacy. I think we must abuse him of that notion.

I would note also that it would be illogical to define either a terrorist or such tactics as appropriate to eliminate them by whether the individual targeted was a state or non-state actor.

You best define that by their common lack of empathy. Ghaddafi's "show no mercy or pity" certainly embodies that lack.

You don't drop a rock on his pointy little head to change his behavior, you do that to destroy his intent, along with his minion's motivation.

If it were up to me, we'd already be refering to Ghaddafi in the past tense.

And I'd be perfectly willing to let lawyers haggle till hell freezes over whether that was a matter of "regime change" or simply honoring a mandate to protect populations.

The notion that somhow we don't trust the people enough to do right by themselves to the point folks would ever impose a system of government is extremely absurd.

We can however insist that whatever gets stood up by them conforms to international norms of behavior and takes its place among respected nations in the UN thereby.

That's only reasonable to expect of a people.

Thanks for considering these ramblings on.



Latest Stories