IOM Libya, in coordination with the Libyan Coast Guard and Libyan Port Security, has established three fully equipped medical clinics at the country’s main migrant disembarkation points in Tripoli, Garaboli and Zliten.
The clinics, funded by UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), are part of an IOM project: “Direct assistance to migrants rescued at sea and tracking displaced populations inside Libya”.
They are the first in a series of steps aimed at supporting Libyan authorities and civil society organizations engaged in receiving migrants, refugees and asylum seekers returned to Libya by the authorities in response to actual or perceived distress-at-sea situations.
The clinics will be able to immediately assist rescued-at-sea migrants, including women and children, who arrive, often suffering from dehydration and in a dire need of medical assistance.
The Libyan Coast Guards’ limited resources are still insufficient to respond to incidents, given the thousands of migrants and refugees trying to reach Europe in often poorly equipped and unseaworthy boats.
IOM Libya has assessed the needs of the service and made recommendations that in future may save lives at sea. “In spite of our efforts and those of our international and national partners, the needs are still huge and people are still dying,” says IOM programme officer Maysa Khalil.
Two more clinics are ready to be delivered to Sabratah and Zuwara main ports, as soon as the local security situation permits.
The project coincides with a spike in maritime incidents. Some 1,201 migrants have been rescued in Libyan waters since the beginning of the year.
The migrants continue making the journey at great risk, travelling under precarious conditions and on unseaworthy boats, leaving them highly vulnerable to drowning and exploitation by organized criminal networks. Brutal treatment during the trip results in many rescued migrants needing of immediate medical assistance.