This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, managed to deliver this week urgently needed assistance to hundreds of displaced Libyan families in the town of Murzuk, in southern Libya.
Humanitarian help is desperately needed in this region of Libya where recent deadly clashes between armed groups in and around the city of Sabha (some 760 km south of Tripoli) have forced an estimated 1,900 Libyan families to flee their homes.
A UNHCR emergency aid convoy left the Libyan capital Tripoli on 4 April. The convoy, consisting of seven trucks loaded with basic aid items was able to enter Sabha the following day where we distributed humanitarian assistance to 850 displaced families. Access to Murzuq and Oubari further south was initially blocked due to security reasons, and the aid had to wait in Sabha.
However, earlier this week, the local population began using the main roads from Sabha to Murzuk. This gave UNHCR a window of opportunity to urgently deliver core relief items to the city of Murzuk where on Wednesday (18 April) 370 displaced families finally received much needed aid.
The displaced Libyan population in the south badly needs adequate shelter and basic household items including hygiene kits, sleeping mats, mattresses and kitchen sets. To make matters worse, humanitarian access to this part of Libya has been restricted for weeks and the situation remains extremely volatile. Many have sought refuge in local schools, hospitals and other public buildings.
In Libya, currently more than 184,000 internally displaced people are in need of humanitarian assistance as well as 368,000 people who have recently returned to their homes. UNHCR continues to advocate on their behalf and to provide relief until they can find durable solutions, including returning home on a voluntary basis and in conditions of dignity and safety.
To respond to the needs of more than half a million Libyans uprooted by the conflict, UNHCR has increased its capacity and resources by 300 percent in recent months.