Libya: Tripoli Clashes Situational Report No. 23 As of 10 May 2019 (covering 7 – 10 May)
This report is produced by OCHA Libya in collaboration with humanitarian partners. Kindly note: the next Situation Report will be released on 17 May and, thereafter, Situation Reports will be released on a weekly basis, with an expanded scope to capture the impact of the Tripoli clashes on the humanitarian situation throughout Libya.
The international humanitarian community strongly condemns the apparent direct attack on a clearly marked ambulance on 8 May, injuring two paramedics and leaving the Director of Tripoli’s Ambulance and Emergency Medical Services in critical condition – the latest in an alarmingly high incidence of attacks on first responders and medical staff.
An airstrike on the night of 7-8 May injures two persons inside the Tajoura detention centre; UNHCR reiterates calls for the immediate evacuation of refugees and migrants detained in conflict areas.
The humanitarian impact of Tripoli clashes is felt in the south of Libya, as supplies of essential goods such as food and fuel are disrupted, exacerbating already existing scarcities.
62,700 people internally displaced by ongoing hostilities
111 civilian casualties confirmed, including 23 civilian fatalities
34,000 people assisted with some form of humanitarian assistance since the onset of crisis
$10.2M funding required for Tripoli Flash Appeal
Attacks on health services: On 8 May, a clearly marked armored ambulance vehicle carrying the Director of Tripoli’s Ambulance and Emergency Medical Services was hit in an apparent direct attack in the Twaisha area of Qasr Bin Ghasheer, injuring two paramedics and leaving the Director in critical condition. He lost both legs in the attack. This is the latest in an alarmingly high incidence of attacks on first responders and medical staff. Since the beginning of the offensive in Tripoli, 4 health workers have been killed, 4 have been injured, 12 ambulances have been impacted and 2 health facilities were evacuated as a result of armed clashes, shelling and airstrikes. These incidents further hamper the ability of already overstretched health services to provide vital assistance to civilians, including those inured as a result of armed conflict. On 9 May, the Humanitarian Coordinator condemned the incident as a serious breach of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The WHO likewise condemned the incident in a statement on 9 May. All parties to the conflict are obligated to take constant care to spare civilians and civilian objects, including medical personnel and assets. Deliberate attacks on clearly marked medical transports constitute war crimes under IHL.
Civilian casualties: In addition to the health workers injured in the incident on 8 May, Health Sector partners have also verified four civilian casualties resulting from armed clashes and airstrikes on 6-7 May. To date, 111 civilian casualties have been verified by the Health Sector, including 23 civilian deaths.
Displacement: According to the latest IOM-DTM figures, approximately 62,700 persons have now fled their homes as a result of the armed conflict. Some 3,900 new IDPs have been identified since 7 May in Qasr Al Akhyar, Tajoura, Suq Al Jumaa, Wershafana, Al Ajayalat, Garabolli and Tripoli.
The majority of IDPs are staying in private accommodation, with friends and relatives or in rental accommodation, mainly in urban areas of Tripoli. Many IDPs have also moved to areas along the coastal line of Western Libya and the Nafusa mountains, while approximately 2,700 IDPs are hosted in collective shelters established by local authorities and first responders. 29 collective shelters have been set up to date, the majority of which are in schools with some others in hotels, resorts and university dorms. An increasing number of IDPs are being identified in areas further away from Tripoli, a trend which is likely to increase the radius in need of humanitarian assistance.
Refugees and migrants: On the overnight of 7-8 May, airstrikes against a GNA compound in Tajoura caused damages and injured two persons within the Tajoura detention centre (DC) located in close proximity, in which some 564 refugees and migrants were detained at the time. In a statement on 8 May, UNHCR called for all refugees and migrants in DCs in conflict areas to be immediately evacuated to safety. On 9 May, UNHCR transferred 228 individuals from Azzawya (116 Individuals), Tajoura (68 individuals) and Al Sabah (44 individuals) DCs to the UNHCR’s Gathering and Departure Facility (GDF) in Tripoli. This leaves approximately 3,300 refugees and migrants trapped in DCs in areas exposed to or at risk of armed conflict and where access to food, water and healthcare are severely restricted due to the conflict. The international humanitarian community continues to call for these individuals to be immediately released and provided with safe shelter until their asylum claims can be processed or they can be provided with safe repatriation assistance for reunification with their families. The international humanitarian community likewise urgently reminds parties to the conflict of their obligations under IHL to refrain from positioning military assets in or near civilian objects, including places of detention.
Impact beyond Tripoli: The conflict in and around Tripoli is making it increasingly difficult for assistance to reach people in need in other areas of the country, particularly in the southern region, where the recent conflict has exacerbated existing humanitarian concerns. The disruption of transport of key goods, due to the presence of conflict and combatants along major trade routes is increasing the severity of already existing shortages. Reportedly, delivery of fuel to petrol stations in the south has ceased since the start of the conflict in Tripoli, leaving residents to resort to the black market and facing high price increases. Access to food, gas cylinders for cooking, electricity, cash liquidity and health services are also reported to be restricted. Parties to the conflict have pulled some of their forces from the south to join the frontlines in around Tripoli, reportedly leading to increased lawlessness and security incidents, especially along the Jufra trade route, also contributing to the shortages in supplies of essential items.