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Libya: Unrest in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

01 Mar 2011


Egyptians and foreigners throng Salloum Land Port, the main border point between Egypt and Libya. Credit: IRIN/Amr Emam
With many civilians affected by violence, the humanitarian priority remains access to western Libya. Humanitarian agencies are preparing intensively, in case the situation deteriorates further.

The situation in western Libya, which is still controlled by the Government, remains tense. The Libyan Government continues to have a strong grip on the capital Tripoli. Several cities, including Tripoli, have become the theatre of confrontations, as tribes have joined the uprising. At this time, government forces continue retrenching to retain control of the capital. Tripoli was reported quieter over the week end with some shops open and people on the streets.

Eastern Libya, which is controlled by the antigovernment groups, was reported quiet for the past two days. Defected military officers appear to have some authority and are mobilizing anti-Government groups of armed civilians and defected Government soldiers.

Leaders of the uprising in the east are reported to have established committees to deliver basic services. While many civilians have been affected by violence, information available indicates that there are few humanitarian needs, in the eastern part of the country.


Libyan Arab Jamahiriya: Humanitarian Presence (as of 28 Feb 2011). Source: OCHA

The Egyptian authorities at the Saloum border post in eastern Libya have been facilitating the entry of humanitarian personnel and relief supplies into Libya, pending the completion of simple administrative measures. The majority of humanitarian organizations entering eastern Libya have been Egyptian organizations. On the Libyan side of the border humanitarian aid is welcomed into the country. According to the Secretary-General of the Libyan Red Crescent in Benghazi, the Benghazi port is fully functioning and can be used to move the commodities.

In the eastern city of Benghazi, aid workers have reported that the situation is calm, some shops and banks are open, food is available and people are out on the streets. Some shortages of medical supplies and drugs are reported, however some medical assistance has already been delivered in the city including by MSF, WHO, ICRC, Islamic Relief and numerous Egyptian NGOs. An inter-agency mission comprising WFP, UNHCR, UNICEF, IOM, WHO and OCHA has visited the town of Saloum on the Egyptian side of the border – its findings are included in this situation report.

The main humanitarian concern at this time is the situation in the west of the country where access and information are extremely limited. Humanitarian agencies are preparing intensively, in case the situation deteriorates further. Teams are being deployed to the borders to enable a full response until access is possible.

The United Nations Security Council on 26 February voted unanimously to impose sanctions on Colonel Gaddafi's regime, imposing an arms embargo, travel bans and asset freeze.The United Nations Security Council resolution on 26 February called upon all Member States, working together and acting in cooperation with the Secretary General, to facilitate and support the return of humanitarian agencies and make available humanitarian and related assistance in Libya.

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