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LIBYA: Lack of security hampers humanitarian access

06 May 2011


Displaced children from Ajdabiya play football inside the former construction camp where they are housed in Benghazi. Credit: IRIN/Kate Thomas
Security constraints continue to hinder access for humanitarian organizations. The Special Envoy for Libya said that both sides to the conflict agreed on the need for a cessation of hostilities to end

The IOM-chartered ship Red Star One docked at Misrata port on 4 May, delivering 180 metric tons of humanitarian supplies. The ship evacuated 1,073 people (827 third country nationals (TCNs), over 200 Libyans, 36 war wounded, and 8 International Medical Corps medical staff who were replaced by new personnel. On 4 May, Government of Libya forces directed rockets at the Misrata port area, resulting in 7 civilians casualties and 17 injured. Artillery shelling of the port was also reported on 5 May.

In the west, fighting in the Nafusa Mountains continues, blocking access for the delivery of essential supplies to Yafran, Qalaa and other towns in the region. Protracted fighting has led to over 40,000 people crossing into Tunisia since early April. Access to this area is still limited and the humanitarian community is concerned about the situation for the local population, particularly in Yafran and Qalaa. The World Health Organization has received unconfirmed reports from the Nafusa Mountains of shortages of medicines, medical staff and food, and that the situation across western Libya area is worsening.

The Libyan Ministry of Health has also reported an acute shortage of vaccines and other essential supplies in Tripoli. Shortages of fuel are also reported. Security constraints at the Port of Misrata and the road networks in western Libya, the Nafusa Mountains, and around Ajdabiya continue to hinder access for humanitarian organizations. Government forces have periodically been reported to block roads in the Nafusa Mountains region. Food shortages have been reported in Yafran.

The United Nations Special Envoy for Libya, Abdelilah Al-Khatib, has said that both sides to the conflict have voiced their agreement on the need for a cessation of hostilities to end the killing of innocent civilians. However, challenges within the political process remain. On 5 May, the International Contact Group for Libya agreed to set up a financial mechanism that would help the Libyan Interim Transitional Council to cover its running costs.

More>> OCHA Situation Report #34