New York, Mar 22 2011 1:05PM
United Nations agencies prepared today to rush aid into eastern Libya as rebels told a senior UN envoy on the ground there that cities and towns were under siege and civilians being targeted by the tanks and heavy weaponry of Colonel Muammar Al-Qadhafi’s forces.
“Providing humanitarian assistance under current circumstances is very challenging,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Adrian Edwards told a <“http://www.unhcr.org/4d888f3d9.html“>news briefing in Geneva, announcing that the agency will send truckloads of aid tomorrow, including 5,000 blankets and 5,000 sleeping mats, to Benghazi, the eastern city that is the rebels’ main base, where people are camped out in schools, universities and with families.
“There are reported shortages of medical supplies and basic commodities in the eastern part of the country, with prices having increased dramatically,” he said.
The aid will go in on a convoy organized by the UN World Food Programme (WFP), which plans to move 19 tons of lentils and 11 tons of vegetable oil in the next two days from Egypt into eastern Libya.
The agency, which has already moved more than 1,500 tons of food into eastern Libya and pre-positioned more than 6,000 tons more in emergency supplies, has airlifted to Egypt six prefabricated warehouses, six mobile offices and other supplies that will be pre-positioned on the Libyan border as part of contingency planning for establishing logistics hubs inside Libya.
Libyans at the Egyptian border have told UNHCR they fear reprisal attacks by pro-Government supporters in eastern parts of the country. People are afraid to go out after 4 p.m., some have seen their homes completely destroyed, and mobile phone networks have not been working since Thursday, fuelling fears and generating greater uncertainty, Mr. Colville said.
For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news