Libya | Protection of civilians concerns in Derna: Flash Update #3 (as of 6 November 2017)

Situation Report
Originally published



  • On 30 October, 12 civilians (three women, six boys and three girls) were killed, when unidentified aircraft struck at least two locations in eastern and southern Derna. Health sector sources reported that at least 37 people were injured, including at least seven civilians, among them four children.

  • According to reports, ambulances carrying injured civilians were initially denied passage at checkpoints around Derna. However, a small number of seriously injured were transferred to hospitals outside of Derna in subsequent days.

  • On 5 November, four children and one woman injured in the airstrikes, as well as their companions were transferred to Tunis for continued medical assistance.

Situation Overview

The tightened encirclement and closure of Derna, imposed by the Libyan National Army (LNA), continues into its fourth month. Periodic escalations of armed conflict occur, as witnessed on 30 October when at least two airstrikes hit residential neighborhoods in Derna causing civilian casualties. At least 12 civilians were killed in an airstrike in al-Fatayih area, and seven injured. In Ardam area, at least three more casualties occurred; their civilian status is unconfirmed. However, it was reported that one boy hurt in the Ardam strike subsequently died. Health sector sources report at least 37 injured.

According to gathered information, ambulances attempting to evacuate those injured as a result of the airstrikes to Tobruk were denied passage at both Martouba and Kirsa checkpoints. However on 1 November, there was the successful medical evacuation of two patients with severe injuries. It was reported that three more people were evacuated but that they died upon arrival. On 5 November, four children and one woman, together with six companions, were evacuated to Tunis for medical treatment. No further evacuations related to the incident are required at present.

Severe movement restrictions continue to be imposed on people attempting to enter or leave Derna, including for medical care, to pursue their studies or to stock up on essential items, such as food or fuel. Civilians in Derna continue to face difficulties accessing cash and black market prices for basic commodities are beyond the means of many. While Derna has seen restrictions on movement into the city and disruptions of supplies to varying degrees over the past three years, the current situation exacerbates the impact on the city’s civilian population.

The main humanitarian needs continue to be: fuel to ensure the continued functioning of critical installations, such as hospitals and water installations, spare parts for the desalination plant, and food items. At least 100,0001 people are deemed to be affected by the current situation.

Humanitarian Response

In the weeks prior to 30 October airstrikes, humanitarian actors had provided urgent medical supplies and other items to support the hospitals in Derna, including supplies to deal with casualty situations.
Subsequent medical supplies entered Derna on 1 November, after delays at the checkpoints. At present, it is assessed that there are sufficient medical supplies in Derna to ensure the provision of essential health services.

Other humanitarian deliveries, including food assistance, remain pending approval and humanitarian access to Derna remains unpredictable and limited.

Humanitarian actors reiterate their call on all parties to:

  • Meet their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law and ensure civilians’ freedom of movement and facilitate the safe exit of those civilians wishing to leave Derna and urge all parties ensure distinction between military targets and civilians.

  • Allow access of humanitarian assistance intended for civilians in need, lift restrictions on the movement of humanitarian relief personnel and civilians in need of urgent assistance, and grant humanitarian organizations unimpeded access to Derna.

  • Ensure the safety and sanctity of health infrastructure (hospitals, clinics, etc) and health human resources as enshrined in successive World Health Assembly Resolutions.

OCHA will continue to monitor the situation in consultation with humanitarian partners on the ground.
Further updates will be issued should the situation require.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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