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Feature: Young Libyans volunteer against COVID-19 amid raging war

“After we posted an advertisement for volunteers, more than 600 wanted to join, from whom we chose 120 young people, including 54 women … from different orientations, cities and affiliations,” Wasim Al-Kabir, the campaign’s executive director, told Xinhua

  A member of the Young People Against Corona campaign disinfects a hotel in Tripoli, Libya, June 10, 2020. An anti-coronavirus volunteer campaign called Young People Against Corona in Libya‘s capital Tripoli is helping fight the COVID-19 pandemic in Libya. Launched in early March by young Libyan volunteers, the Young People Against Corona campaign now tasks itself with cleaning streets and providing meals for foreign workers and freelancers who were economically affected by the shutdown of the government since mid-March. (Photo by Mohamed Arhomah/Xinhua)

TRIPOLI, June 15 (Xinhua) — Ali Durman, 25, never thought he could help fight the COVID-19 pandemic in his country Libya as a member of an important anti-coronavirus volunteer team.

Durman spends two days every week working with a campaign called Young People Against Corona, where he meets the rest of the members for a plan to sterilize a certain location in the capital Tripoli.

“About four months ago, I saw on Facebook an advertisement for volunteer work related to fighting the novel coronavirus. I was excited about the idea and contacted the campaign’s officials. The next day, I joined them,” Durman told Xinhua.

Their mission started with raising the public awareness of the coronavirus outbreak, before expanding to help sterilize public and private locations, according to Durman.

“We form a team of five and sterilize the entire facilities, despite the hardship of the work and no financial compensation,” he noted.

Launched in early March by young Libyan volunteers, the Young People Against Corona campaign now tasks itself with cleaning streets and providing meals for foreign workers and freelancers who were economically affected by the shutdown of the government since mid-March.

“After we posted an advertisement for volunteers, more than 600 wanted to join, from whom we chose 120 young people, including 54 women … from different orientations, cities and affiliations,” Wasim Al-Kabir, the campaign’s executive director, told Xinhua.

“It is true that the war caused a social rift and left scars between the Libyans,” Durman said. “But such voluntary actions enable the Libyan youth to demonstrate love for their country.”

Asma Al-Darhoub, another volunteer in the campaign, said participating in the volunteer work is a humanitarian action.

“I am a doctor and I try to present my experience to this group of young people. We want to reflect an important image that we stand with people in this hard work … with no goals except serving and mitigating Libya,” Al-Darhoub told Xinhua.

War-torn Libya has so far confirmed 418 COVID-19 cases, including 62 recoveries and eight deaths, according to the National Center for Disease Control.

The first coronavirus infection in Libya was reported in March, while the first death was in April.

In order to fight the deadly virus, the Libyan authorities closed the country’s borders as well as schools and mosques, banned public gatherings, and imposed a curfew.

The UN-backed government and the east-based army had been engaged in a deadly armed conflict over the capital Tripoli for more than a year, before the UN-backed government recently announced its takeover of the entire capital city and all western Libya by expelling the rival east-based army.

Libya has been suffering escalating violence and political instability since the fall of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, making it difficult for the authorities to provide proper healthcare for the public.

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