Following the fall of Gaddafi in 2011, an absence of a strong central government has resulted in ongoing conflicts between rival armed groups and militias. Fighting has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and reduced towns and cities like Sirte to rubble, littered with dangerous debris—from unexploded mortars to cluster bombs.
Despite previous efforts by several humanitarian mine action organisations to remove these lethal remnants of war, there has not been the technical knowledge needed to make Libya’s decimated cities safe. As a result, families desperate to rebuild their lives have been unable to return to their homes.
Citizen of Sirte
Since establishing a presence in Libya in 2018, we have been able to draw on our 30 years of experience in mechanical clearance to make Libya’s urban centres safe. Unprecedented levels of destruction, including in residential areas with multi-story buildings, piles of rubble and collapsed buildings, demand innovative solutions, including adapting and armouring machines more commonly seen on civil engineering sites.
HALO works across all of Libya with offices in Tripoli, Misrata and Sirte. Mechanical clearance is currently focused on the coastal city of Sirte. The last bastion of Daesh in North Africa until their defeat in 2016, Sirte experienced some of the worst fighting of Libya’s civil war. In collaboration with the Libyan Mine Action Centre (LibMAC) and local authorities, we have recruited and trained the first two mechanical clearance teams in Sirte. One pile of rubble at a time, they are now clearing their own city of explosive debris—making it safe for people to return home and rebuild their lives.