Since March 2011, IRD has reached approximately 10,000 beneficiaries in Libya with non-food items, and another 450,000 with medical supplies and pharmaceuticals. We accomplished this by working closely with local civil society organizations, who have been critical in helping IRD understand the needs of and reach the community of internally displaced persons. In turn, the organizations have benefited from the experience and know-how of IRD international emergency experts who provided support for the distribution process.
IRD was the first international nongovernmental organization to conduct a rapid assessment of emergency needs in Libya after the beginning of the conflict that recently ended the rule of Muammar el-Qaddafi. Beginning in March and April 2011, IRD used funding from the Prem Rawat Foundation, Latter Day Saint Charities, and the GBG Foundation to purchase urgently needed pharmaceuticals for Benghazi, open a small office, and transport $11 million worth of badly needed medical supplies from Egypt into eastern Libya. The supplies were used to restock hospitals all over the region as well as augment trauma supplies in Misrata, which was under siege by pro-government forces.
In April, IRD received a grant from USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance to help cover transportation costs of the pharmaceuticals and provide targeted material support to internally displaced persons and host families across Libya. IRD continued to conduct needs assessments among communities in eastern Libya who were hosting internally displaced persons. As a result, IRD delivered over 75,000 diapers and hygiene kits to over 1,200 people. (The delivery of this support also provided IRD an opportunity to build local capacity to undertake similar operations.)
In Libya’s west, IRD was also one of the first actors to conduct early needs assessments of internally displaced persons and host communities, providing critical information to other organizations as well as the UN agencies operating in the region. IRD’s assessments determined that hygiene supplies were the most critical need – internally displaced persons were stretching the capacity of cash-strapped host communities to accommodate them, and the summer heat was exacerbating unsanitary living conditions. IRD distributed hygiene supplies to over 12,500 individuals, working closely with community councils in several cities to ensure that kits reached the most vulnerable people.