Relief agencies "concerned" by growing insecurity and increased displacement in Tripoli

Alwasat - Cairo Tue 14 May 2019, 11:43 PM
alwasat radio

United Nations (UN) agencies said on Tuesday they were "concerned" about the deteriorating humanitarian and security situation in and around the Libyan capital Tripoli, where over 66,000 displaced individuals -- approximately 13,310 families -- have been facing clashes and airstrikes since April 4.

Charlie Yaxley, spokesperson for the UN refugee agency UNHCR, said at a media briefing here that "Over the past few days, airstrikes and artillery shellings have been carried out in Ain Zara, Tajoura and near the Tripoli International Airport."

He said that thousands of civilians are moving to safer locations every day in cities along the coast and towards the Nafusa Mountains.

At the briefing, the spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Joel Millman, said that "The rapidly increasing displacement figures are worrying as fighting intensifies in the absence of a humanitarian ceasefire.

"The situation is especially alarming for over 3,300 migrants, among them children and pregnant women," said the IOM spokesperson, whose concerns were echoed by the UNHCR.

Millman cited details of a migrant boat which departed Zwara in Libya and capsized off the Tunisian coast on May 10, claiming at least 59 lives.

This brings the death toll in the Central Mediterranean route to 316 so far this year, and to 502 in all Mediterranean Sea routes, the IOM said.

Since the beginning of the clashes, 871 migrants have been returned to Libya and placed in detention, bringing the total number of migrants repatriated to Libya to 2,813 this year, said the IOM spokesperson.

Millman cited Othman Belbeisi, chief of IOM's Libya Mission, as saying that "We are worried about the dramatically deteriorating humanitarian situation in Tripoli and reiterate that there is an urgent need to end the detention of migrants in Libya and stop displacement."

UNHCR's Yaxley said that in several detention centers people need urgent medical treatment, food, water and sanitation.

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