By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab.
Tripoli, 21 August 2014:
The number of Tripoli residents fleeing the fighting in the city continues to rise.
Although Tripoli Local . . .[restrict]Council’s Crisis Committee earlier this week estimated that some 43,500 people (some 7,240 families) had been displaced by the fighting there are no precise figures, mainly because many people are taking refuge with relatives elsewhere.
The real figure is believed to be far higher. Residential areas, such as west Janzour, have seen large number of residents leave. In Hay Akwakh by the Airport Road, currently scene of intense fighting between revolutionaries and Zintani forces supported by Abu Sleem fighters, virtually all the residents have fled.
Across the west of the country, towns have been organising accommodation for the capital’s refugees. Announcements are being made almost on a daily basis of new families being received. Yesterday the municipal council in Hawamid, 200 kilometres south east of Tripoli, in the Jebel Nafusa, announced that it had so far taken in 148 families and called on locals and civil organisations to help. One hundred and seventy kilometres south east of Tripoli, Bani Walid said it was preparing to host 700 families while Nalut last week said that in just two daysaid it had taken in 120 families.
Meanwhile, according the UNHCR, 12,000 people from Tripoli have sought refuge is Zawia to which it has sent a convoy of aid.
In Sirte, a Local Council official today told the Libya Herald, 410 families from had been accommodated, mainly from Tripoli but some too from Benghazi. Just four days ago, the figure was 120 families.
The official, Mohamed Al-Amyel, said that the refugees were being provided with some cash from the council “to put food on the table” and that the council was doing its best but that its resource were extremely stretched. It already had 1,400 refugees, mainly from Tawergha.
Problems were compounded by the fact that there was now a shortage of cash in the town, he said, resulting in a run on the banks. LD 5 million had been transferred from the Wahda Bank in Misrata to the Wahda Bank in Sirte last week but it had all bee withdrawn “in two days”, he stated.
There were also serious shortages of medicines at the town’s clinics and hospital, he said.
Further afield, Ajdabiya said today that it had provided accommodation for 250 families from Tripoli as well as Benghazi.
Many other residents in the capital have preferred to leave the country altogether. According to a Tunisan official today, more than 100,00 Libyans have crossed the border over the past month to escape the clashes. Earlier it was reported that 6,000 people were crossing the border daily, most of them Libyans.
Other Libyans have gone to Turkey and Egypt, although the latter is all but closed with flights from Libya into the country now all but ended and the land crossing at Musaid again closed. [/restrict]