(New York, 25 July 2011) A United Nations team, including IOM, OCHA, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP and WHO staff, completed a one-week mission to Tripoli on 24 July. On the fourth mission to Tripoli since the beginning of the crisis, the team aimed to further assess the needs of IDPs and other vulnerable groups, to ensure people get the right help, and looked at the humanitarian impact of the conflict on civilians.
“Although the mission observed aspects of normalcy in Tripoli, members identified pockets of vulnerability where people need urgent humanitarian assistance,” underlined Humanitarian Coordinator a.i., Laurence Hart.
Medical priorities include treating people with injuries due to the ongoing conflict. The health sector is already under strain because of the conflict and the departure of thousands of foreign health workers since the beginning of the crisis. Medical supplies, including vaccines, are rapidly running low. The mission heard reports of the heavy psychosocial impact of the conflict, mainly among children and women.
Although basic food commodities can be found in the markets, prices are increasing. There are also concerns over the unsustainable food supply chain for the public distribution systems, especially as Ramadan approaches and the conflict persists.
Outside Tripoli, the team also visited Al-Khoms and Zletan, east of Tripoli and close to the frontline, as well as Gharyan, in the Western Mountains area. All these towns have seen a significant influx of IDPs. The team discussed their immediate humanitarian needs with community members and the need to particularly monitor the situation of IDPs who are not officially registered.
The fuel shortage is a significant problem: the UN team observed long queues at gas stations, some of which had closed down. A fuel consumption quota system is now in place since Libyan oil experts warned that fuel stocks could run out in two weeks, should the shortage continue. Public transport costs have tripled, making access to services, including hospitals, challenging.
Reduced availability of cash is a serious concern, as many Libyans withdrew their savings at the beginning of the crisis. Banks are restricting cash withdrawals for individual account holders. The mission team reported that water is still available, but people are experiencing significant electricity cuts.
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