Aid workers struggle to stem Misrata's misery

British medics and aid workers are part of a major operation trying to stem the human misery in Misrata, with two more ships carrying vital supplies due to dock today.

Reports from Libya's third-largest city have painted an increasingly desperate picture of a population under siege with children among those killed and wounded by relentless bombing. "Misrata's residents are now feeling very scared. They can neither find safety in the city, nor can they leave. They are trapped and remain prey to the ongoing rain of indiscriminate explosives being fired at their neighbourhoods by the Libyan leader's forces," said Donatella Rovera, one of two Amnesty International UK researchers documenting human rights abuses in the country.

"The question on virtually everyone's lips is the same one – where is the international community and why is it not doing anything to provide the protection that it promised... to the vulnerable and increasingly desperate inhabitants of Misrata?"

Last night, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said they were hoping to get ships carrying vital supplies into Misrata today to rescue refugees and migrant workers. On Monday, the Department for International Development (DfID) pledged a further £2m on top of a previous £11m to help with the evacuation and provision of medical supplies.

The IOM, which has already sent two ships to pull out 2,200 people, taking them to Benghazi and then by road to Salum, estimated that a further 5,000 people needed rescuing from Misrata but said it was running out of funds to help tens of thousands of other people stranded in eastern Libya, Tripoli and on the borders. It was hoping to get a third ship in today to help the migrants who have been camping around the port since the early days of the conflict with little food or clean water, a spokesman said.

"The lack of sanitation and the severe health risks it poses, as well as the constant shelling and firing are the biggest risks to their lives," said the IOM's Jeremy Haslam, who has been leading the operation. "Food support for the migrants from the Libyan community has diminished over time as resources in the city in general have dried up. We need to reach them fast as they cannot bear up much longer."

Last night the Red Cross said it also had another ship due to dock in Misrata today, having evacuated 618 people on Monday to take them to Egypt via Tobruk. "These people had been stranded in dire conditions for several weeks, without proper shelter or sanitation. They had to cope with poor hygiene and were exposed to danger owing to the fighting in the city," said Javier Cepero Garcia, an ICRC delegate who is leading the evacuation.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine