Ambassador Norland participated in a virtual briefing on April 2 led by the Chief of Mission of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for Libya, Federico Soda, who provided an update on IOM’s crucial and lifesaving assistance to Libya’s most vulnerable populations, including migrants and internally-displaced persons (IPDs). In addition, IOM briefed on the organization’s ongoing coordination with Libyan health partners and local authorities to strengthen the COVID-19 response.
Drawing on its vast experience with tracking the movements and needs of vulnerable populations, IOM is working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Libyan National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to improve disease surveillance at Libya’s borders and assist with contact tracing for COVID-19 cases. IOM has also launched a comprehensive health campaign to improve sanitation, raise awareness about the virus, and provide hygiene kits to migrants in detention centers, to ensure that the most vulnerable and marginalized populations are included in national preventive and public health measures. IOM is providing health awareness training and medical supplies to Libyan authorities as part of this health campaign. The organization’s medical teams continue to administer lifesaving health assistance to vulnerable persons across Libya, including checking for COVID-19 symptoms and offering primary health care.
Ambassador Norland and IOM Chief of Mission Soda also stressed the need for an immediate, humanitarian cessation of hostilities in Libya to allow local authorities the space needed to address the looming COVID-19 threat. They also discussed the need to prevent any discrimination in access to healthcare across Libya. In order to protect the population at large, anyone, including migrants, presenting symptoms of COVID-19 should be able to receive testing and treatment.
The U.S. Department of State supports IOM with funding focused on enhancing border security and responding to irregular migration flows. To learn more about IOM’s critical work across Libya, visit https://libya.iom.int/.