AFRICA/LIBYA-Lack of medicines, food and essential supplies for the refugees in the Western Mountains region

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Sughead (Agenzia Fides) - Fighting between government forces and the Libyan opposition in the Western Mountains region, also known as Nefusa Mountains, have blocked access to thousands of civilians fleeing, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis. Since April, in fact at least 40,000 people have fled. According to the United Nations for Refugees (UNHCR) sources, over 8 000, mostly Berber women and children, have come completely lacking in everything in Dehiba, border town in Tunisia. The clashes have prevented the distribution of essential supplies in Yafran, Qalaa and other cities, raising concerns about the conditions of the population. There is also insufficient medicines, food and healthcare.
In a statement issued by the agency IRIN, a cooperating Libyan humanitarian association El-Hurra, one of the major distributers of food, clothing, toys and medical care in refugee camps, defines the situation catastrophic in the country. About 1,500 people have found shelter in the refugee camp of Ramadi, in Tunisia, 25 km from the border with Libya. According to the 'International Medical Corps (IMC), government forces could have contaminated the wells that supply water to Nalut. Families are very concerned for their stay in refugee camps. According to the IMC in the last days the government forces have launched more than 50 Grad missiles in Zintan, and other attacks have been perpetrated on the outskirts of Nalut. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), given the significance of the matter, attacks have damaged mosques, homes, and touched hospitals, the government has focused little on military targets to hit. The director of the hospital emergency room of Tataouine in Tunisia, 100 km from Dehiba said that every day at least 5 Libyan refugees are taken care of in hospital. Before the start of the clashes in February, Zintan, a city inhabited mainly by Arabs, had 40,000 residents. Nalut and Takut, predominantly Berber, had respectively 93 000 and 10 000. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 10/5/2011