Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 July 2019

UN helps rescue 150 refugees in Libya, including women and children

Those moved to safety told the UN refugee agency that they were petrified by the fighting and feared for their lives

Libyan displaced children, who fled their houses because of the fighting between the Eastern forces commanded by Khalifa Haftar and the internationally recognised government, play at the industrial complex, which is used as a shelter, in Tripoli, Libya . REUTERS
Libyan displaced children, who fled their houses because of the fighting between the Eastern forces commanded by Khalifa Haftar and the internationally recognised government, play at the industrial complex, which is used as a shelter, in Tripoli, Libya . REUTERS

The UN Refugee Agency has moved to safety another 150 refugees in Libya.

The vulnerable people, including many women and children, were taken from southern Tripoli to the agency's centre in the heart of Libya’s capital, away from hostilities.

They had been in the Abu Selim detention centre, which is one of several in Libya that has been affected by the conflict since it erupted in the capital almost a fortnight ago.

Refugees at the centre told UN workers that they were petrified and traumatised by the fighting, and feared for their lives.

The UN refugee agency intended to move more people to safety but a rapid escalation of fighting made it impossible.

“It is a race against time to move people out of harm’s way," said its assistant chief in Libya, Lucie Gagne.

"Conflict and deteriorating security conditions hamper how much we can do. We urgently need solutions for people trapped in Libya, including humanitarian evacuations to transfer those most vulnerable out of the country.”

Refugees who were moved on Tuesday were among the most vulnerable. The relocation was conducted with the support of the International Medical Corps and the Libyan Ministry of Interior.

Last week, the agency relocated more than 150 refugees from the Ain Zara detention centre, also in southern Tripoli, to its centre.

There are still more than 2,700 refugees and migrants detained and trapped in areas where clashes are continuing.

Other detention facilities affected by and close to the conflict include the Qasr bin Ghasheer, Al Sabaa and Tajoura centres.

Updated: April 17, 2019 04:35 AM

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