Clashes between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA) erupted south of Tripoli on 4 April, immediately impacting the civilian population in and around Tripoli. Armed clashes have been particularly heavy in the southern districts of Tripoli, with use of heavy artillery and airstrikes on both sides. Seventy-nine civilian casualties have been confirmed as of 17 April, including 18 civilian deaths. As this figure reflects only those civilian casualties that could be individually verified, it must be unfortunately considered a minimum.
Two weeks into the crisis, more than 27,000 people have fled their homes while thousands more remain trapped by ongoing fighting in their neighborhoods. As of 17 April, some 28,000 people have been displaced, according to IOM displacement tracking (IOM/ DTM), and numbers continue to increase daily. Most families are staying with relatives and in private accommodation in the different neighborhoods and suburbs of Tripoli; as well as along the coastal line in Western Libya and the Nafusa mountains. Additionally, over 2,000 newly displaced persons have sought shelter in collective centers designated by the local authorities.
Use of heavy weaponry in populated areas is exposing civilians and local first responder teams to extreme risks. Civilians in conflict-affected areas are at risk of being trapped in crossfire or subject to other forms of violence. In some areas, the population are unable to move because of the intensity of the fighting and the inability of emergency services to reach them. The incident rate involving first responders and medical personnel is alarming – an ambulance driver and two civilian doctors are among those killed to date, one civilian doctor has been injured, and eight ambulances have so far been struck by weaponry. Civilian facilities, including schools and health units are being increasingly hit in shelling that appears to be indiscriminate.
Around 3,900 refugees and migrants in detention centers are at risk and trapped in conflict areas. Five detention centres are located in areas already engulfed by fighting. Six more are in close proximity to clash areas. There have been reports of guards abandoning detention centres with people remaining trapped inside. Already among the most vulnerable populations in Libya, these refugees and migrants now face the risk of becoming caught in cross-fire, or left without life-sustaining supplies, including food and water.
Humanitarian needs are expected to escalate significantly as hostilities continue; an estimated 1.5 million people may be impacted within weeks. This includes more than 500,000 children living in Tripoli and the western part of Libya. Based on the current displacement trends due to the conflict, humanitarian partners forsee an increase number of displaced people moving to collective shelters and urban settings. Around 144,000 people will be in-need of immediate humanitarian assistance. Regugees and migrants, including women and children, will be particularly vulnerable as the situation deteriorates.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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