LIBYA: UN to establish humanitarian presence in Tripoli

20 April, 2011
People at the Libya-Egypt border tell UNHCR staff of displacement in eastern Libya, such as these people in the desert outside the town of Ajdabiya. Credit: UNHCR
People at the Libya-Egypt border tell UNHCR staff of displacement in eastern Libya, such as these people in the desert outside the town of Ajdabiya. Credit: UNHCR

ERC Valerie Amos completed a successful mission to Libya, during which she obtained an agreement with the Government on 17 April 2011 to establish a UN humanitarian presence in Tripoli. According to ERC Amos, the agreement will “enable us to move around and see exactly what is happening for ourselves,” and better facilitate delivery of assistance inside Libya. ERC Amos has also asked for access to Misrata by road, not only by sea.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) conducted another evacuation from Misrata to Benghazi on 18 April. To date, nearly 6,000 third-country nationals (TCN) have been evacuated from Misrata, but IOM estimated that over 10,000 remain stranded in Misrata on 13 April.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has indicated that up to 10,000 Libyan refugees from the Nafusa mountain region have fled to Tunisia to escape fighting and shelling by Libyan Government forces in past weeks. Humanitarian partners are delivering non-food items, health services, water and food to these refugees; more than 1,600 refugees are staying in camps, though most families appear to be staying with host families.

The humanitarian response to the crisis includes a World Food Programme (WFP) convoy from Tunisia delivering food to Tripoli for 50,000 people for one month, while the World Health Organization (WHO) will deliver medical supplies to Misrata by fishing boat in the coming days. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has delivered 700 hygiene kits and installed ten portable latrines in two camps on the Libya – Tunisia border.

In addition to the need for access to affected areas, protection of civilians remains a serious concern. There are reports of landmines being laid outside Benghazi and continued shelling in civilian areas. IDPs require special attention, especially single female heads of household, the elderly, disabled and children.

According to the Financial Tracking Services, the $310 million Flash Appeal for the Libyan Crisis is currently only 41 per cent funded.
 

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