Geneva, March 7 (DPA) The UN Monday appealed to donors for $160 million to provide humanitarian assistance in Libya over the next three months.
The UN said it intends to assist up to 400,000 people who might escape the troubled North African country. The funds would ensure the provision of adequate humanitarian relief for migrants leaving for Tunisia, Egypt and Niger.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an inter-governmental agency, some 213,000 people have fled Libya since Feb 20. Prior to the unrest, there were 1.5 million migrant labourers in the country. According to some estimates, several thousand migrants still need to be evacuated.
“IOM is greatly concerned at the plight of Libyans and migrants who are still stranded inside Libya. Those managing to get out, in particular sub-Saharan Africans, are recounting to us terrible stories of targeting, physical violence and of being held back from leaving,” said the agency’s director general, William Lacy Swing.
Inside Libya, the UN would use the funds for another 600,000 people who might be in need of assistance, including with food aid and health care.
A UN official told DPA that although the appeal is meant to cover all areas of Libya, currently humanitarian aid workers only have access to rebel-held parts of the country. As more information emerges, the UN might change its funding request.
“Humanitarian organizations need urgent access now. I call on the authorities to provide access without delay,” said UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos about Misurata, a city east of Libyan capital Tripoli witnessing heavy fighting.
The appeal is to cover the planned actions of 17 aid organizations, including IOM; UN agencies such as the World Health Organization and World Food Programme; and non-governmental groups such as Save the Children.