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UN humanitarian chief calls for urgent humanitarian access to west Libya

03-07-2011 14:55 BJT

UNITED NATIONS, March 6 (Xinhua) -- Valerie Amos, UN under- secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, on Sunday called for urgent humanitarian access to Misrata in the west of Libya.

Amos, who traveled to the Tunisia-Libya border on Saturday to review the ongoing relief effort for people fleeing Libya, made the appeal following reports of violence and killing in the western area of Libya, UN officials said here. Amos' tour was also aimed at assessing what humanitarian agencies can do further to support those who are stranded in the border areas.

"Humanitarian organizations need urgent access now. People are injured and dying and need help immediately," she said. "I call on the authorities to provide access without delay to allow aid workers to help save lives."

"I would also remind all concerned to ensure that civilians are protected from harm," she said.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has received reports from the Benghazi Red Crescent that Misrata is under attack by government forces and that the Libyan Red Crescent is trying to get ambulances from Tripoli in order to collect the dead and injured.

"People crossing the Tunisia-Libya border have reported that they have faced intimidation as they have tried to leave Libya," Amos said on Saturday. "Much remains to be done in the days and weeks ahead especially if the situation deteriorates in the west of the country."

A total of 104,275 people had crossed into Tunisia by the end of March 3, OCHA said.

Since the Libyan authorities took control of the border crossing into Tunisia, the number of people crossing has dropped to several hundred per day, compared to about 20,000 at its peak several days ago, OCHA said, adding that significant progress has been made in evacuating people from the North African country.

On Monday in Geneva, Amos will launch the regional flash appeal covering Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Niger. It will focus on the border areas, population movements, humanitarian needs, security, health, water, protection and communication, and will cover a three-month period.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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