146 refugees evacuated from Libya to Italy as fighting continues

Migrants are seen at Misrata airport, before their deportation and resettlement in Italy, in Misrata, Libya April 29, 2019. REUTERS/Ayman al-Sahili
Migrants are seen at Misrata airport, before their deportation and resettlement in Italy, in Misrata, Libya April 29, 2019. REUTERS/Ayman al-Sahili

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says 146 refugees have been evacuated from Libya to Italy in a joint operation between itself and Italian and Libyan authorities.

The UNHCR adds that the group landed in Rome from Libya’s Misrata airport and will be hosted in emergency accommodation centres.

Italy is the first country to have stepped forward to receive evacuees from Libya since the recent violence began following a campaign by the Libyan National Army (LNA) to take Tripoli.

The UNHCR says a humanitarian pause was coordinated and facilitated with all parties to the conflict to allow for the safe passage of the migrants and refugees.

The UNHCR says thousands of refugees and migrants continue to be held in detention centres, where they already stay in dire and squalid conditions.

The UNHCR has urged the international community to evacuate all refugees still inside detention centres in Tripoli and to bring them to safety.

Parties in the conflict have been implored to ensure that civilians are not being caught in the crossfire and to spare civilian infrastructure.

According to the World Health Organization, 345 people have died including 22 civilians, and another 1,652 are injured in fighting in Libya.