Increasing hostilities in Libya taking heavy toll on civilians, warns UN relief official

 

UN News | Published: September 25, 2018

 


© UNHCR/Sufyan Ararah | As renewed fighting broke out in Tripoli, Libya, in early-September, UNHCR’s local office provided assistance to refugees and asylum-seekers who escaped from detention centres as rockets exploded around the capital. 8 September 2018.

 

The top United Nations relief official in Libya has voiced deep alarm at the humanitarian impact of increasing hostilities in Tripoli, which has led over two days to the deaths of 11 people, most of them civilians, and the wounding of 18 others.

Ongoing clashes between different militias in the Libyan capital have trapped many civilians and displaced numerous families, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

An estimated 5,000 families, including 1,700 in just the past two days, have sought refuge with relatives in safer parts of the city and its outskirts since fighting commenced on 26 August.

“Many are afraid to leave their homes because of looting by armed groups or criminal elements. As the fighting escalates, the number of civilians affected by violence is bound to increase,” UN Humanitarian Coordinator Maria Ribeiro said in a statement.

“In addition, the clashes have led to a breakdown in basic services such as electricity and water.”

The Humanitarian Country Team in Libya warned of the dire consequences of the compounded humanitarian crisis in Tripoli, and called for unconditional, unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access to the affected civilians in Tripoli.

It urged all parties to the conflict to take measures to protect civilians and civilian installations.

On 4 September, a ceasefire agreement was signed by the armed groups in Tripoli under the auspices of UN Special Representative, Ghassan Salamé, and the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

However, an increasing number of violations of the ceasefire has led to the death of dozens of civilians.

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