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PRESS RELEASE

UNHCR News
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Humanitarian aid for displaced families west
of Tripoli
The UN Refugee Agency through its partner organizations International Medical
Corps (IMC) and Taher Al Zawia Organization sent on Saturday a two trucks
convoy with humanitarian aid from Tunisia into Libya, the first one since the
beginning of the current crisis. Several thousand people recently displaced by on-
going fighting in and around Tripoli received urgently needed medical supplies
and relief items including blankets, sleeping mats and baby diapers. The
distribution was still ongoing on Monday.
The trucks departed the city of Medenine in southeastern Tunisia before crossing
the Ras Jedir border and headed to Zawiya, a town about 45 km west of Tripoli,
where some 2,000 families displaced by on-going fighting in the capital and are
living in the citys outskirts in extremely difficult conditions. The same day, a
second convoy from IMCs stockpiles in Libya delivered essential medicines and
medical supplies to the displaced community. Relief items were distributed by
Taher Al Zawia Organization.
This weekends operation is crucial and, we hope, paves the way for other
humanitarian aid to reach affected populations who are stranded and in dire need
of assistance, said Saado Quol UNHCRs Acting Chief of Mission in Libya.
UNHCR has a warehouse in Tripoli with stockpiles of critical relief items but it is
currently unable to access it due to on-going fighting in the surroundings areas.
The deteriorating security situation in Libya has severely hampered UNHCRs
operations in Tripoli and Benghazi since early July, including the provision of
assistance to refugees and asylum-seekers and other displaced civilians.
Now in its fifth week of conflict, Tripoli is facing severe fuel shortages and power
outages resulting in crippling disruptions to the distribution of basic goods and
services, including water, food, supplies and banking.
According to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Cresent
(IFRC), at least 2 million people may be at risk of food shortage if the fighting
continues in Libya. The departure of foreign medical staff from Libya has
exacerbated current problems as foreigners comprise almost 80% of medical
service personnel.
UNHCR, through its partner the International Medical Corps, has provided
essential medicines and other core relief items to several hospitals near the
fighting, but is also extremely concerned about the situation of asylum seekers
and migrants alike in detention centres. During the first week of August, hygiene
kits were provided to persons rescued at sea in several detention centres in Al-
PLACE: Tunis, Tunisia DATE: 18 August 2014
Khums, Misrata and Zliten. Relief items and medical assistance were also
distributed by IMC to evacuees who left areas heavily hit by missiles and rockets
in Tripoli.
Since airport clashes on 13 July, the violence has rapidly escalated and spread
throughout Tripoli and into some western suburbs. The Crisis Committee of the
Tripoli City Council estimates that some 7,240 families (around 43,500
individuals) are displaced as a result of four weeks of constant fighting in the
Libyan capital. Some sources estimate that actual displacement figures may be
significantly higher. Although many families have sought shelter with friends and
relatives in neighbouring cities, some have nowhere to go and are gathered in
the woods and open areas outside of Tripoli.
These people cannot go further to the west as the road is increasingly unsafe,
and they cannot go back to the east. They are in urgent need of assistance, and
despite the challenges, we need to be able to respond to the needs of affected
civilians, said Quol.

For more information on this topic, please contact:
In Tunisia, Dunnapar Fern Tilakamonkul on mobile +216 58 33 51 23
In Tunisia, Dalia Al Achi on mobile +216 58 33 51 18

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