Military mobilization around Sirte threatening 125,000 Libyans: UN

Li Jiayao
2020-10-16 00:47:36

UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- Increased activities amid the military mobilization around the Libyan coastal city of Sirte are raising fear of a humanitarian disaster, threatening 125,000 people, UN humanitarians said on Wednesday.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said its humanitarian partners are concerned about the fragile situation should the escalation and mobilization around Sirte lead to military operations.

Across Libya, humanitarian organizations have reached about 75,000 internally displaced people, approximately 128,000 vulnerable, conflict-affected Libyans and recent returnees and 66,000 migrants and refugees, two-thirds of the overall target.

Further complicating the situation, OCHA said COVID-19 cases are increasing exponentially across the country, with 44,985 cases and 656 deaths confirmed as of Tuesday.

The closure of health facilities due to a lack of resources, staff contracting COVID-19, fuel shortages and power cuts has noticeably affected the functioning of health services, OCHA said.

A recent rapid survey carried out in the internationally recognized capital of Tripoli found that of 92 primary health care facilities that were functioning before the pandemic, only 54 are still operational.

Across the country, COVID-19 testing, tracing and treatment capacity remains extremely low, with services concentrated mainly in Tripoli and Benghazi, OCHA said.

The only COVID-19 test lab in the south has been closed for 10 days due to extended power cuts and diesel fuel shortages.

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