Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya arrives in Tripoli
(Tripoli/Cairo, 2 September 2011): The Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Panos Moumtzis, arrived in Tripoli yesterday with an inter-agency United Nations humanitarian mission to re-establish the UN’s presence in the Libyan capital.
“The humanitarian situation remains fragile. It is critical to ensure an immediate and effective UN presence on the ground to help identify and assist vulnerable people who have been particularly affected by the conflict and the disruption of services,” Mr. Moumtzis said. “We are here with a strong team of professionals, who will work closely in support of local partners to speedily assist them.” He stressed his particular concern about humanitarian needs in places where fighting has occurred.
The mission will assess and assist the response to the water shortages in Tripoli and surrounding areas, look into the protection of civilians and assess the food situation. Participants in the team include the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Given the evolving situation in Libya, there are still concerns about pockets of vulnerable people who lack safe water. UNICEF, in coordination with the National Transitional Council (NTC), continues to procure and distribute bottled drinking water to residents currently deprived of water. These efforts aim to reach 500,000 people for a period of two weeks.
There is currently no municipal tap water in Tripoli due to lack of fuel and malfunctioning of the pumping system 1,000 kilometres south of the city. The area is inaccessible due to insecurity. UNICEF continues to provide technical support to the NTC in their efforts to re-establish running water for domestic usage.
Regarding protection, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has voiced concern over the fate of Sub-Saharan and other vulnerable migrants who want to leave the country but cannot get out. An IOM chartered boat left Tripoli late Wednesday with migrants on board, but despite efforts to organize their safe evacuation, IOM has not been able to reach many of them.
Meanwhile, WFP has dispatched around 600 metric tons of food to Tripoli for distribution by the Libyan Red Crescent to provide assistance to more than 35,500 conflict-affected and displaced people for one month. At the request of the NTC, WFP is also procuring 250,000 metric tons of gasoline that would cover immediate life-saving humanitarian needs for one month.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said it will ensure the provision of essential medicines, vaccines and medical supplies for the whole of the country after the UN Sanctions Committee in mid-August released €100 million (US$142 million) from the Central Bank of Libya. A list of priority items has been developed by WHO in collaboration with national Libyan authorities.
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.