Press release: UN warns of severe humanitarian aid shortage in Libya
Libya Dawn fighters fire an artillery cannon at IS militants near Sirte - REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

CAIRO: A United Nations official today warned that the humanitarian crisis in Libya is worsening and appealed to the international community to speed the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance worth USD 166 million for some 2.4 million affected Libyans, of which only USD 4.4 million were available – a mere 7.3 percent of the demand.

Deputy of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Chief of the UN Support Mission in Libya Ali Za’tari stressed that the world organization was facing no difficulties in accessing the most needy and those affected by the Libyan conflict, but that the main problem was rather the international community’s failure to provide the necessary financial aid to procure food and medical relief supplies as well as water, sanitation and other basic services. He added that unless the international community promptly pays due attention to the humanitarian needs in Libya, the crisis would intensify and could have serious consequences.

“We are able to reach those in need through the Libyan Red Crescent Society, NGOs, technical ministries, some municipalities and other parties,” Za’tari said. “Access is not difficult, but the problem is fetching the necessary financial resources.” The UN official made his remarks during a press conference held at the UN Information Centre in Cairo.

Za’tari, who also serves as the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator as well as Representative of the UN Development Programme in Libya, told reporters he came to Cairo to explain and highlight the overall humanitarian crisis situation in Libya in meetings he will hold with officials and envoys at the League of Arab States and with Egyptian officials. He said he will urge them all to provide the necessary humanitarian support for Libya.

Za’tari said the crisis in Libya has led to the deterioration of health, sanitation and educational services and to drinking water supply shortages. He emphasized the urgent need for a mechanism to protect people affected by the ongoing conflict there for four years now. In addition to the humanitarian tragedy endured by the Libyans, Za’tari pointed out that the crisis has widespread regional effects and that Libya remains a major conduit for refugees and immigrants who are flocking to the European continent. There are in Libya now nearly half a million displaced persons who may again move either to other countries by land or across the sea under the current security conditions and the lack of adequate border controls.

Three weeks ago, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the allocation of USD 100 million from the UN Central Fund for Emergency Response (CERF) for assistance operations in nine emergency situations. Of these funds, USD 12 million were earmarked to help victims of the conflict in Libya.

The preceding is a press statement by the United Nations and does not reflect the editorial policy of The Cairo Post. 


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