UNHCR Warns of New Refugee Crisis

The following is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards at the press briefing, on 14 November 2014, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva:

Intense fighting among rival armed groups in Libya's eastern towns of Benghazi and Derna, as well as in the country's southeast at Ubari and in the west at Kikla, is fuelling a displacement crisis. At least 106,420 people have fled their homes in the past month alone, meaning that displacement amid the violence since May now exceeds 393,400 people.

Insecurity meanwhile is hampering humanitarian operations. Aid agencies are still trying to calculate the true scale of internal displacement. We have confirmed reports from our NGO partners of 56,500 people having fled Benghazi in the past few weeks (including 2,500 Tawerghans who had previously sought shelter there fleeing earlier waves of violence in 2011).

Still more people have fled from Derna (some 170 km from Tobruk) though we have no confirmation yet on how many. Local crisis committees in southeast confirm some 11,280 people have fled fighting in Ubari, while in the west civilian groups report 38,640 people have been displaced by fighting in Kikla, including many women and children.

Libya's displaced are scattered across 35 towns and cities, and are in dire need of shelter, health care, food, water and other basic commodities. The fighting has been fiercest in Benghazi, from where people have fled to the nearby towns of Al Marj, Ajdabiya, Al Bayda, and Misrata. These towns are now reaching the limits of what they can do to help the displaced.

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