Libya: Revised Appeal seeks $408 million to respond to crisis

18 May, 2011
Aljalaa Hospital, Benghazi. A patient in the trauma section receives care from a Libyan doctor, February 2011. Credit: IRIN/Gratiane De Moustier
Aljalaa Hospital, Benghazi. A patient in the trauma section receives care from a Libyan doctor, February 2011. Credit: IRIN/Gratiane De Moustier

ERC Amos today launched the Revised Regional Appeal for the Libyan Crisis in Geneva. The UN called for an additional US$233 million to assist as many as 2.1 million civilians affected by the conflict in Libya, and warned of a potential worsening of the humanitarian situation both within and outside the country.

The initial flash appeal issued on 7 March was seeking $160 million, based on projections of up to 400,000 people fleeing Libya and another 600,000 needing help within. As of today, more than 803,000 people have left, and new focus is being placed on the crisis within the country - where up to 1.6 million people require assistance.

“The conflict, the breakdown of state infrastructure, and shortages of cash and fuel are causing serious problems for the population of Libya,” ERC Amos told Member States today in Geneva. “Humanitarian agencies are most concerned about the people living in areas where fighting continues. In Misrata, which remains at the forefront of our concern, shelling and fighting has been ongoing in parts of the city for over two months,” Ms Amos said.“Widespread shortages are paralyzing the country in ways which will gravely impact the general population in the weeks and months ahead; particularly the poorest and the most vulnerable”.

While in most of the country the situation is not yet critical, it is likely to worsen, with food, fuel and medical stocks running low, and an emerging shortage of personnel in key sectors such as health. The crisis is also taking a toll on nearby countries. Niger and Chad, two of the world’s poorest countries, face the burden of reintegrating thousands of former expatriates, whose remittances from Libya had been essential to the survival of their communities at home.

In her statement today, Ms. Amos reiterated UN calls for a pause to hostilities in Misrata, to allow further delivery of essential medical supplies and other relief items, as well as the evacuation of third country nationals, the wounded and others who require emergency medical assistance. In a press conference held yesterday in Geneva, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Panos Moumtzis stressed that ERC Amos’ repeated appeal for temporary cessation of hostilities is not a political act, but a request driven by humanitarian values and principles to ensure aid can reach those in need of assistance.

UNHCR reports that to date around 14,000 people have arrived by boat in Italy and Malta from Libya. At least 1,200 people have died or gone missing during the journey. Also, according to UNHCR, third county nationals leaving Libya on unseaworthy boats continue risking their lives during the journey.

Fuel scarcity and high fuel prices in the west of Libya continue to be a concern. “80% of the Libyan population lives in the western part of the country and what we saw during our visit there is a source of concern in terms of lack of fuel, food and medical supplies running low and the lack of liquidity that is affecting everybody,” HC Moumtzis said yesterday. Fuel scarcity is also affecting Benghazi due to problems in the supply chain, though stocks are expected to be replenished soon. Residents are queuing for days in Tripoli to get petrol. Libya's biggest oil company, the Arab Gulf Oil Company, reports that it will not resume production until the crisis ends. Insecurity, cash shortages, departure of migrants and the general situation compound an already precarious economic situation in the whole country.

“The current situation will contribute to a continued need for humanitarian assistance in Libya in the months ahead,” ERC Amos said today. “These structural vulnerabilities need to be addressed to ensure that the adverse affects on the civilian population are minimized. The next two to three months will be a critical period for Libya”. 

More>> OCHA Press Release - ERC Statement - Revised Regional Appeal (Download PDF) - OCHA Situation Report #37

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