Tripoli violence threatens civilians, displaced, refugees and migrants

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Charlie Yaxley to whom quoted text may be attributed at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Libya. Thousands of displaced Tawergha violently evicted from settlement

Tawergha families abandon the Triq al Matar settlement for internally displaced persons, near Tripoli, Libya, after a militia torched their homes.  © UNHCR/Tarik Argaz

In light of the ongoing clashes in Libya’s capital, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency is today appealing to parties to the fighting to spare civilians and civilian infrastructure and allow safe passage for those seeking refuge in safer areas.

Recent shelling of civilian neighbourhoods has caused death, destruction and displacement and is of great concern. Two people were killed and several others injured, including children at the Fallah 2 Tawergha settlement for displaced people on Sunday night as armed groups exchanged fire. The site hosts more than 900 displaced Libyans.

In Janzour area in western Tripoli, 27 Libyan families including two children suffering from a degenerative illness sought refuge in a school after clashes in the south of the city forced them to leave their homes. Yesterday, (Monday, 3 September) a UNHCR team visited the families and assessed their situation. In coordination with other humanitarian agencies, UNHCR will be providing emergency relief items to all 150 people sheltering in the school. A medical team from a local clinic is visiting the families and providing primary health care although the needs are increasing.

The current security situation in the Libyan capital is volatile, unpredictable and is restricting access by humanitarian agencies both to displaced Libyans and refugees affected by the clashes. 

On Sunday, UNHCR coordinated with the Libyan Ministry of Interior and WFP the delivery of food for a week to the Triq Al Matar and Qaser Ben Ghasheer government detention centres where 2,450 refugees and migrants are being detained. The distribution of further assistance to Abu Salim detention centre, where 450 people are being held, had to be called off because of worsening clashes in the area.

We are closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with the Libyan Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration and UN Agencies, and advocating for all refugees and migrants to be relocated to a safer place.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the Libyan Coast Guard rescued 276 refugees and migrants and disembarked them at Al Khums, 120 km east of Tripoli.

UNHCR partner International Medical Corps was present at al Khums disembarkation point and provided basic aid and medical assistance. A total of 195 men, 36 women and 45 children were disembarked and two bodies were recovered during the coast guard operation.

UNHCR will continue to provide assistance to Libyan displaced families and refugees despite the deteriorating security situation in Tripoli.

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