The humanitarian situation in Derna is worsening – UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

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The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has stated that the escalation of fighting in Derna – eastern Libya – has reached unprecedented levels due to the use of airstrikes and artillery shelling.

“Some of the attacks have been targeting residential areas, besides heavy ground clashes.” OHCA added in a report on Thursday.

According to the Libya Observer, “the humanitarian situation is worsening as severe water, food and medicine shortages continue to exacerbate. Electricity and water are completely cut off for the approximately 125,000 residents.”  It also remarks that at “least five civilians have died since May 22, including two children, and 11 have been injured, including four children, as a result of the increased hostilities.”

The UN report states  that “The humanitarian community calls on all parties to respect international humanitarian law and minimise civilian casualties, ensure civilians’ freedom of movement and facilitate the safe exit of those civilians wishing to leave Derna.” It added that there is an urging need for an immediate safe and unrestricted access to Derna for humanitarian actors and humanitarian goods needs to be granted.

The Libya Observer’s report says that the “self-styled army forces of Khalifa Haftar have been for weeks toughening the siege along with the bombing and shelling on Derna in an attempt to push forward and enter the city. Caught up in the middle, Derna civilian population has been deprived of so many basic needs such as cooking gas, fuel and oxygen for hospitals and foods as well as medicines. due to the encirclement of Haftar’s forces, which has been ongoing for over two years.”

The Libya Herald reports that since the last update on 24 May, the escalation of fighting in Derna has reached unprecedented levels, due to the use of air raids and shelling, some of which are in residential areas, and heavy ground clashes.

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