By Libya Herald reporters.
Tunis, 3 October 2015:
Nearly a million children in Libya are at risk in one way or another because . . .[restrict]of the fighting that has gripped the country says a UN agency.
The risks range from the fighting itself and battlefield detritus, to lack of proper food and healthcare, psychological trauma and physical and sexual abuse, said the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. In a report issued this week it also claimed that children are being recruited, sometimes forcibly, by militias.
Over all, the OCHA is estimating that more than three million people – half of all Libyans – have been affected by the conflict and some 2.44 million are in need of protection and some form of humanitarian assistance.
The OCHA said that it carried out its research this summer in those parts of Libya that its investigators were able to reach. Its estimate is that some 435,000 people have abandoned their homes and often been obliged to flee at least once more when fighting engulfed their refuges. However it did not say how many of these refugees have gone abroad, particularly to Tunisia or Egypt rather than become internally displaced people (IDP).
It also notes the presence of around quarter a million illegal migrants and asylum seekers who are living in increasingly desperate conditions. This group has even less chance of treatment by the country’s collapsing health service, which the report observes was not originally of a very high standard. Hospitals and clinics are chronically underfunded and much of the health budget is being sent sending Libyans abroad for treatment. The OCHA estimated that up to 20 percent of clinics and hospitals are now shut.
It said that a high proportion of those killed and wounded between July 2014 and this May has been women and children. It gave no figure for civilian dead but said that at least 20,000 civilians had been injured, adding that the actual number was likely to be higher thanks to under-reporting and recent fighting in Benghazi, Sirte, Derna, Sebha and Kufra. [/restrict]