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OCHA Libya | Tripoli Clashes Situation Report No.24 (17 May 2019)


The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate as a direct result of the armed conflict in and around Tripoli.

The use of explosive weapons – including artillery shelling and aerial bombardment – in populated areas continues to cause civilian casualties. At least six people were killed and five people were injured in an apparent airstrike in Qasr Bin Ghashir on 14 May. 126 civilian casualties, including 29 fatalities, have now been confirmed since the beginning of clashes.[1] Humanitarians continue to remind parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law to take all feasible measures to avoid civilian harm, and call on all parties to refrain from using explosive weapons – including by aerial bombardment or shelling – in populated areas, given their likely indiscriminate effect.

Since the onset of hostilities on 4 April, over 75,000 individuals have fled their homes, according to DTM-IOM tracking. Of these, over 48 per cent are estimated to be children and 51 per cent to be women. The rate of displacement has decreased somewhat since the start of the conflict, yet armed conflict continues to drive more and more families from their homes. The majority of IDPs are staying in private accommodation, with friends and relatives or in rental accommodation, mainly in urban areas of Tripoli. Many IDPs have also moved to areas along the coastal line of Western Libya

and the Nafusa mountains, while approximately 2,700 IDPs are hosted in collective shelters established by local authorities and first responders. 29 collective shelters have been set up to date, the majority of which are in schools with some others set up in holiday resorts and university dorms. An increasing number of IDPs are being identified in areas further away from Tripoli, a trend which is likely to increase the radius in need ofhumanitarian assistance.

Humanitarian actors estimate that over 100,000 men, women and children remain trapped in immediate frontline areas, with over 400,000 more in areas directly impacted by clashes. Concerns are high for civilians unable to leave these areas, as conditions deteriorate and emergency services are unable to get through. Water and electricity cuts are being reported from frontline areas, while market access and availability of food is very limited. Humanitarian actors continue to appeal for a humanitarian truce to allow civilians trapped in conflict areas to move freely to safer areas and for assistance to reach those in urgent need.

Humanitarian actors are extremely concerned for the safety and wellbeing of nearly 3,400 refugees and migrants trapped in detentions centres (DCs) exposed to, or in close proximity to, the fighting. In addition to the risk posed by armed clashes, access to food, water and healthcare is severely restricted at these facilities as a result of the conflict. This week, humanitarian actors raised concerns over some 214 refugees and migrants intercepted at sea being brought to detention centres in conflict areas. On 11 May the Libyan Coast Guard intercepted 106 refugees and migrants (including 16 women and 4 children), transferring them to Azzawya Al Nasr DC. On 12 May, another 108 migrants and refugees were intercepted at sea and transferred to Tajoura DC. Both DCs are already exposed to, or at risk from, armed conflict.[2] As highlighted by the Secretary-General on 4 April, “No one can argue that Libya is a safe port of disembarkation at this point.” Humanitarian actors continue to call for detained refugees and migrants to be released and provided with safe shelter until their asylum claims can be processed or they can be provided with safe repatriation assistance for reunification with their families.

The impact of clashes is being felt outside of Tripoli, as more IDPs arrive in other areas and disruptions in supplies of essential goods such as food and fuel exacerbate already existing scarcities in the south of Libya. Areas south of Ayn Zara, Khala, Azizya, Wadi Rabiya’a and Gasr Bin Ghashir remain largely inaccessible to humanitarian actors due to fighting and random shelling. However, during the past week a form of status quo in the conflict dynamics in Tripoli has allowed access to some urban areas where humanitarian actors were previously unable to reach. Humanitarian partners continue to express concern over lengthy delays and inconsistencies in the import and customs clearance of humanitarian cargo entering Libya and call for the fast-tracking of aid shipments to ensure timely delivery to affected populations.

Humanitarian partners continue to provide assistance, where access allows. Over 42,400 people have received assistance since the start of the conflict. However insufficient access and funding are impeding response operations. On 18 April, humanitarian partners launched a flash appeal for $10.2 million in support of the Tripoli response. However only 30% of the funding requirement has been pledged/received to date.

Operation(s)/ Webspace(s): 
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Original Publication Date: 
17 May 2019
Document type: 
Situation Report
Inter-Cluster Coordination