Libya Intensifying fighting continues to take heavy civilian toll warns UN agency

“The growing number of displaced people is outstripping the capacities of local communities,” UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told journalists in Geneva, adding that the agency and its partners are responding to some of the needs, but “we face major constraints in access.”In recent weeks, the North African nation has been embroiled in some of the worst fighting since the 2011 uprising that ousted former leader Muammar al-Qadhafi. The Libyan parliament convened for the first time in early August of this year, welcomed by the UN as a move toward peace. However, protracted battles between opposing armed groups continue to take their toll on civilians.According to a UNHCR statement released today, recent displacement has been around Warshefana on the outskirts of Tripoli, where fighting in recent weeks has caused some 100,000 people to flee. Additionally, some 15,000 people are estimated to be displaced around Benghazi.Many displaced people are living with locals, some who have opened their homes to several families to meet the growing need for shelter. People unable to stay with relatives or host families sleep in schools, parks or non-residential buildings converted into emergency shelters.For example, Ajaylat, a small town some 80 kilometres west of Tripoli, normally of about 100,000 people, is now hosting some 16,000 displaced people. With displaced people now making up more than 10 per cent of the local population, health facilities are struggling to cope.UNHCR reports that the main hospital there is witnessing a 30 per cent increase in cases and lacks essential medical supplies and medicines for chronic illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes. Other towns across western Libya and in Benghazi are under similar strain.Efforts to reach the displaced are often hampered by limited access to towns affecting by fighting between rival armed groups. UNHCR and partners dispatched the first relief convoy for 12,000 displaced people in western Libya in August. But additional help is urgently needed, and for this, better access is required.The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNMIL) has called for an immediate ceasefire and access to carry out distribution of aid. Meanwhile, the UN has issued a humanitarian appeal for Libya requesting additional funding to continue helping hundreds of thousands of people.As well as the impact on the local population, the fighting is also affecting refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants in Libya – many of them from Middle Eastern countries and sub-Saharan Africa. Lawlessness and spike in food prices have made many desperate to leave.Libya’s policy of detaining refugees and migrants has pushed many to put their lives in the hands of smugglers to try to get to Europe – joining the tens of thousands of people who in recent months have transited through Libya and made the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean. Of the more than 165,000 who have arrived on Europe’s shores so far this year, the majority departed from Libya – of whom 48 per cent are Syrians and Eritreans.Many have not made it far from the Libyan coast. The latest tragedy, off the coast near Tripoli on October 2, left more than 100 people, mostly Syrian nationals, dead or missing. read more

EYEWITNESS Tawdry…

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedEYEWITNESS: How does it feel…July 18, 2018In “EYEWITNESS”EYEWITNESS: Moving on…November 8, 2018In “EYEWITNESS”EYEWITNESS: Killing dreams…September 7, 2017In “EYEWITNESS” …conduct for a big manJust when your Eyewitness thought Trump couldn’t surprise us any longer, up comes the testimony on 60 minutes of “Stormy Daniels” about their affair! Now, the claim’s been circulating for the longest while but this was, well…60 MINUTES!! This was the premier investigative journalism putting THEIR reputation on the line to have the one-time porn star tell her story directly!!Well, they certainly grabbed the attention of a lot of folks since it garnered their largest audience in decades!! While quite a chunk of that crowd probably wanted to be titillated (no pun intended!) by the buxom blonde, it was most likely the same demographic who voted for Trump and wanted to revel in the “macho” exploits of their leader.Let’s face it folks – none of these salacious revelations are going to hurt Trump at that sensitive spot – the ballot box! As we say in Guyana, all the Stormy episode proves is “Trump a maan!!” If, after we had Trump caught on tape boasting how he grabs the “p*ssy’ of random young attractive women, the Christian evangelical movement of the States could reaffirm their support for him, what else could make them shift?The revelation that most of Trump’s latest sexual encounters of the weird kind had him sublimating his sexual desires for his daughter?? Naaah! Among the southern, red neck, gun-toting yahoos who follow him, they don’t even BOTHER with any sublimation!! It’s all in the family!! But seriously folks, Trump’s behaviour has done wonders for a democratic world order. Look at it this way…do you think world leaders can take whatever Trump says seriously after all his low-class escapades? Kim Jong Un??But it’s not just Trump, is it folks?? He’s simply the object through which the new America is channelling its angst. Ever since WWI ended and Britain passed its world-straddling hegemony over to the US, they could now tutor us on what was “civilised” and what was not – just as England had done for centuries. But apart from their big guns and big bombs, the Europeans always insisted they were crude, gum-chewing hicks.But your Eyewitness thinks it was just sour grapes and Trump’s crudity and its approval by the majority of Americans is merely a symptom of a changing world order in which the US just won’t be as all powerful as they had been for the last half-a-century. Change is never easy…especially when the change is seen as a “come down”.So, dear reader, let’s not be too harsh on Trump – he’s just a sign of the (US) times. We have a whole lot of relatives over there now.And you’d be surprised how many support Trump!!…and not cricketAs your Eyewitness suggested, maybe Trump has a (structural) excuse for his low-class behaviour. But what’s the excuse of Steve Smith?? Here’s a young man who was being mentioned in the same sentence as Sir Don Bradman…and he condones and even encourages ball tampering?? What the heck’s going on?While the Europeans might’ve suggested the Americans were rough around the edges, having been tutored longer, we in the Empire assumed we knew better.And nothing proved our credentials than cricket!! Which, for the record, the Aussies played at the highest levels long before us, because they were “white”. It was said by the Duke of Wellington that the Battle of Waterloo (the Brits against the Europe-straddling Napoleon) was won on the playing fields of Eton. Meaning it was the discipline and traditions passed on in that quintessentially upper-class game of cricket that held the line.But sadly, Smith is also a symptom of a wider malaise in Aussies. They never understood CLR James’ dictum:“What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?”…and retrogradeSo while we’re arguing about the relevance of Creolese, French is being promoted? What use will this be to us. With China’s ascendancy, shouldn’t we be brushing up our Mandarin?Since 1853, it’s part of our culture!! read more