Conflicts & War

UN calls on Libyan politicians to overcome divisions so aid can reach cyclone victims

Geneva, Sept. 13 (EFE) – The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, on Wednesday, called on Libyan politicians, a divided country run by parallel governments, to overcome deadlocks to jointly ensure access to aid for people affected by the cyclone and subsequent flooding in the northeast of the country.

“This is a time for unity of purpose: all those affected must receive support, without regard for any affiliations,” he urged.

Nearly 7,000 people have been confirmed dead due to the disaster, while some 10,000 are still reported missing.

Libya has been in a deep socio-political crisis for over a decade after a NATO-supported Arab Spring uprising toppled leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

As of 2014, Libya has two rival governments, an internationally recognized one in Tripoli and a powerful military-backed one in Benghazi, each with its parliament.

Years of war and the lack of a central government have left Libya with decaying infrastructure, which buckled under the extreme rainfall of Storm Daniel when two dams burst in the coastal city of Dern.

Türk recalled that the disaster in Libya is “another lethal reminder of the catastrophic impact that a changing climate can have on our world” and expressed solidarity with all those who have lost loved ones.

Libya is also the leading transit country for migrants from sub-Saharan Africa trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean, making them vulnerable to human smuggling networks and Libyan security forces exploitation.

“It is important that particular care is taken to protect groups in vulnerable situations – who are even more at risk in the aftermath of such a disaster. Human rights need to be at the center of the response to this heartbreaking situation,” said the UN human rights chief. EFE


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