LIBYA: Humanitarian efforts continue despite heavy shelling

18 April, 2011
Map of City of Misrata. Credit: OCHA Libya Office
Map of City of Misrata. Credit: OCHA Libya Office

In the past four days, Misrata has been heavily shelled during fighting between Government and opposition forces. Media report that over 100 missiles have been launched daily. Unconfirmed numbers of civilians have been killed or injured. Local organizations report that casualties include children and the elderly. Human Rights Watch have also confirmed the use of cluster munitions by Qaddafi forces in Misrata.

From 15 to 16 April, three cluster bombs were seen exploding over the city, one 300 metres from the Misrata Hospital in an area populated by civilians. The use of cluster munitions is banned by over 108 countries as part of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Despite the heavy shelling, humanitarian organizations have been evertheless able to deliver aid and evacuate people from Misrata to safety.

On 14 April, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) delivered over 400 tons of aid by ship, then evacuated 800 people, inculding ten medical emergencies. On 16 April, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) evacuated 135 people — including 71 war wounded — from Misrata to Zarzis, Tunisia. An inter-agency humanitarian needs assessment was carried out in Darna, Tubruq and Benghazi from 7 to 11 April.

Led by OCHA, with representatives from UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the team found that basic goods and services remain available in the short term, indicating that the situation in eastern Libya does not as yet present grave humanitarian consequences. Following the establishment of an office in Benghazi on 9 April, United Nations agencies have initiated cluster meetings with humanitarian partners.

More>> OCHA Situation Report #26

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