Fighting and need for aid increase in north-western Libya – UN

Refugees at the Tunisian-Libyan border

24 June 2011 – Fighting has intensified in north-western regions of Libya and the United Nations has stepped up its effort to help wounded civilians in the area, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.

Elizabeth Byrs, a spokesperson for OCHA, told a press briefing in Geneva assistance provided in the Nafusa Mountains has predominantly been in the health sector, “especially the treatment of the injured.”

Ms. Byrs said that throughout the country some 530,000 persons had received food assistance from the UN and its partners, including about 20 non-governmental organizations working in Libya.

She said the port of Khums in the northwest received its first humanitarian assistance vessel on 19 June with 546 tons of food delivered to 106,000 beneficiaries in the area, in cooperation with the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

Ms. Byrs said an appeal for $407 million for Libya was currently 55 per cent funded.

OCHA reported today that more than 650,000 people have left the country since the start of the conflict earlier this year, with the majority non-Libyan. More than a quarter million non-Libyans are also temporarily in countries not of their origin. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that about 243,000 Libyans are internally displaced because of the fighting.

Libya is one of many countries across North Africa and the Middle East where popular uprisings and widespread protests have taken place this year.


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