Fierce fighting for control of Libya’s capital that has already displaced tens of thousands of people threatens to bring a further worsening of humanitarian conditions, a senior UN official has warned.
“As long as the situation continues, even if it just stagnates and continues like this, we can expect to see a continuing deterioration,” UN humanitarian coordinator for Libya Maria do Valle Ribeiro told AFP.
Strongman Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) launched an offensive against Tripoli, the seat of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), on April 4.
“When we see the use of air power, the indiscriminate shelling of densely populated areas, it is very difficult to be optimistic,” do Valle Ribeiro, who is also the deputy UN envoy to Libya, said late Sunday.
She was speaking after air raids by the LNA on Tripoli on Saturday killed four people and wounded 20 others, according to the GNA.
“We continue to call for a respect of civilians, we continue to call for humanitarian pauses and most of all we continue to hope that the situation can return to a more peaceful settlement of the crisis,” she said.
The fighting has killed at least 278 people and wounded more than 1,300, according to a toll released Wednesday by the World Health Organization.
It has also forced 41,000 people to flee combat areas around Tripoli, do Valle Ribeiro said, while many remain trapped and in need of humanitarian assistance.