Following the return of relative peace and stability, the people of Misrata are implementing reconstruction projects to restore the city's infrastructure.
Misrata was the scene of one of the most intense and vicious battles of Libya’s Civil War. Between February and May 2011, the anti-Gaddafi rebel group, the National Liberation Army, was placed under siege by pro-Gaddafi forces. Located in western Libya, the city was subjected to daily assaults and shelling by Gaddafi, whose forces managed to cut off the city from its sea port, thus denying an escape route for the city’s trapped civilian population.
The significance and intensity of the battle led international commentators to nickname the battle “Libya’s Stalingrad”. NATO intervention forces began their operation in Libya in April 2011, which helped tip the balance of power in favour of the National Liberation Army, who ultimately ended the siege on the city the following month. The return of security and stability had allowed reconstruction efforts to begin to rehabilitate the city to its pre-war state.
The first phase of the Libyan Civil War ended in October 2011 after the death of Muammar Gaddafi. The National Transitional Council initiated the process for forming a new national government in Libya. But warring tribes and militias in different parts of the country prevented any sincere and widely accepted governance from forming. In December 2015, the Libyan Political Agreement, signed in Skhirat, Morocco, united the warring political factions under the Government of National Accord (GNA).
Following the agreement, the people of Misrata had been embroiled in leading the GNA-led battle to retake Sirte from occupying ISIS militants. The GNA Misrata Brigades and Misrata Military Council recaptured the city in its entirety from ISIS militants in December 2016. Although ISIS never occupied Misrata City, a number of sleeper cells were able to penetrate local security measures and carried out a series of suicide attacks. One such suicide attack in October 2017 targeted Misrata’s court complex, killing four and wounding an additional 35.
Following the defeat of ISIS and the return of Misratan Forces, stability and normality has started returning to the city. An initiative launched by the people of Misrata, known as “Our Streets”, have taken up the task of restoring the city’s infrastructure that was destroyed during the siege of 2011.
There have been ongoing problems with the city’s water supply and garbage collection, but one of the biggest infrastructure problem for Misratans is the condition of the roads.
Pot holes have been a significant issue, that have at times led to fatal crashes. The organisers of Our Streets hope that by restoring the city’s road infrastructure, the economy of the city will begin to improve as heavy lorries and freight traffic can have more confidence in using the city’s road network. “There used to be lots of pits [in the road], but this campaign has been very successful,” one road user told reporters.
Ongoing efforts have filled in and repaired many pot holes, as well as bringing the road signal network back online after seven years.