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EU estimates 400,000 people in Tripoli need aid

EU estimates 400,000 people in Tripoli need aid

At least 400,000 people in the Libyan capital need humanitarian assistance as Tripoli and other parts of the country continue to face fuel and water shortages as well as understaffed hospitals, the European Union's top aid official said Thursday.
Kristalina Georgieva, the European commissioner for international aid, said relief groups were rushing to meet the needs of Libyans now emerging from the monthslong conflict that saw Moammar Gadhafi removed from power by a ragtag army of rebels aided by NATO aistrikes.
"There are still acute problems in Libya as well as the risk that, if fighting is to resume around Sirte or in other places, it may still worsen," Georgieva told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Thursday.
Sirte, some 250 miles (400 kilometers) east of Tripoli, is Gadhafi's hometown.
"What we do know is that in Tripoli about a third of the population need help," said Georgieva.
Estimates for the capital's population vary from 1.2 million to almost 2 million people. A large portion of Tripoli's sizeable migrant population fled soon after fighting broke out, causing another _ potentially long-term _ problem as hospitals, bakeries and other basic services struggle to operate without foreign workers.
"The biggest problem is a shortage of nurses, because they left," said Georgieva.
Of those migrants who remain, many have gone into hiding, fearful of attacks by rebels who view them as possible Gadhafi mercenaries.
Georgieva urged Libya's National Transitional Council to send a clearer message to its fighters not to carry out reprisals against the estimated 3,000 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, who are believed to be still stranded in and around the city, "even if a person was a combatant."
The International Organization for Migration, too, said it was concerned about the fate of foreigners wanting to leave.
The group, which organized a third evacuation of some 400 foreigners by boat from Tripoli overnight, said it was "aware of groups of migrants camped out along a stretch of the coast and on farms inland and in need of help."
"In addition to not having food, water, shelter and medical care, the migrants have reportedly expressed significant fear of harassment and targeting," IOM said.
The United Nations said it is hoping to reopen its office in Tripoli in the coming days. A convoy of U.N. officials was meant to arrive in the capital from Tunisia on Thursday.


Updated : 2021-10-26 05:23 GMT+08:00