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Libyans continue to suffer as fighting rages around Tripoli

05 Feb 2020

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Thousands of displaced families in camps such as these in Tripoli remain vulnerable to the fighting in the capital. Credit: OCHA/Eve Sabbagh  

Ordinary people continue to suffer the brunt of fighting in and around Libya’s capital, Tripoli, despite international political efforts and commitments. 

On 4 February, two more children were killed in shelling on the residential neighbourhood of al-Karamiya al-Sharqiya in Tripoli. The medical team trying to rescue those injured in the attack were themselves affected by shelling near a local hospital.

This is the third attack to affect health personnel and facilities this year. Two health personnel have been killed and five others injured in such attacks in 2020, according to the World Health Organization.

On the same day, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres commented on the situation in Libya, “What we are seeing is absolutely unacceptable. We are seeing more civilians targeted. We have seen migrants in a desperate situation, and all the commitments that were made, apparently, were made without true intention of respecting them.”

About 749,000 people are estimated to be in areas affected by clashes in and around Tripoli, including almost 345,000 people in frontline areas.

Humanitarian organizations continue to call on all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure. They have been urged to avoid the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

The Libya Humanitarian Needs Overview for 2020 published last week estimates 900,000 people – which is more than 13 per cent of the country’s population - will need humanitarian assistance in Libya. Internal displacement surged by 80 per cent in 2019 due to conflict, with 343,000 people now displaced across the country.  

Humanitarian partners continue to provide assistance where access and capacities allow, to the internally displaced, to returnees, migrants, refugees and other vulnerable and conflict-affected groups.  Humanitarian operations reached more than 400,000 people with assistance in 2019.