LIBYA: Humanitarian operations continue despite ongoing fighting

2 May, 2011
Displaced children from Ajdabiya play in the grounds of a converted construction camp in Benghazi. Credit: IRIN/Kate Thomas
Displaced children from Ajdabiya play in the grounds of a converted construction camp in Benghazi. Credit: IRIN/Kate Thomas

On 30 April, the Libyan government reported that a NATO air strike killed Colonel Qadhafi’s son, Saif al-Arab Qadhafi, and three of his grandchildren. NATO issued a statement saying that all NATO targets are military and that individuals are not targeted. On 1 May, United Nations staff relocated to Tunisia as a temporary measure and will continue their work from Tunisia. Humanitarian operations continue.

On 30 April, three sea mines were discovered two miles offshore from Misrata. There are fears that more mines exist. On 1 May,the International Organization for Migration (IOM) ship was delayed from docking but managed to complete an evacuation of close to 1,000 people, while the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) suspended sea operations temporarily.Over a dozen aid ships have evacuated around 12,000 people from Misrata, and delivered over 3,000 metric tons of humanitarian aid.

Government and opposition forces and refugees fleeing Libya were included in the casualties when fighting between Government and opposition forces broke out on 29 April at the Wazin/Dhibat border.  Government forces took over the border the morning of 29 April. Warwounded from both Libyan partieswere treated in health facilities in Dhibat and Tatouine.Médecins Sans Frontières(MSF) reported that 16 combatants were transported to Tatouine Hospital.The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) issued a statement saying that it is concerned that people fleeing Libya could be caught in the cross-fire as government and opposition forces battle for control in the border area. The Tunisian armyincreased its presence  at the Libyan border.

Over 28 – 29 April, media reports indicate that about 5,000 people crossed into Tunisia. As Government forces control the checkpoint, some people are also crossing using informal routes rather than the road through Wazin. Therefore, precise numbers of Libyans crossing into Tunisiaare  presently unavailable. 
Reports from local sources indicate that the port area and other parts of Misrata came under heavy fire on 1 May. Seven deaths and many injuries were reported. There is a need for more capacity at the hospital. From 28 - 29 April, rocket and mortar fire killed at least nineteen people and wounded 35, including a child.

More>> OCHA Situation Report #32