UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya strongly condemns the blockage of the Great Man-Made River, cutting off water supply for hundreds of thousands of Libyans
On 19 May 2019, during late night hours, a water control station in the Jabal al-Hasawna – southwestern Libya, was deliberately shut down cutting off water supply from the Great Man-Made River (GMMR) to Tripoli and some cities in the western and middle areas of Libya.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Maria Ribeiro, condemns in the strongest terms this act that aims to deprive hundreds of thousands of already embattled Libyans of safe drinking water. “Such attacks against civilian infrastructure that are essential for the survival of the civilian population may be considered war crimes,” Ribeiro stressed.
Continuous attacks on the water system further jeopardise levels of health and hygiene among the civilian population, particularly those most vulnerable, including children, and cause further hardship and possible displacement.
The Humanitarian Coordinator reminds all parties of their obligations under International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law to ensure the safety of all civilians and civilian infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, and public utilities, especially water and electricity.
Note for editors:
Since the beginning of 2018, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of wells being sabotaged. Currently, 96 out of 366 wells feeding the Man-Made River are out of service. This was already creating increasing water shortages for the estimated 1.5 million people, including some 600,000 children, who rely on the MMR as their primary supplier of freshwater.
For more information, please contact Niels Scott, Head of OCHA Office, firstname.lastname@example.org