United Nations, April 14 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is concerned about the fighting in Libya, including the latest shelling of Tripoli, and the first signs of COVID-19 infection, a spokesman said.
“We are concerned about the fighting from whichever side, including, of course, the latest shelling,” said the secretary-general's deputy spokesman, Farhan Haq. “We, as you know, have been asking for the parties to cease fighting,” reported Xinhua news agency on Monday.
“It's very clear that right now there are the first signs of COVID-19 infection in Libya and we need to make sure that they can set aside all military offensives and work together in terms of being able to allow for us to deal with the pandemic before that comes out of control,” he told correspondents at a virtual briefing. “That is where our priority lies.”
Haq said UN colleagues in Libya report that hostilities in the western region of the country have continued to cause civilian casualties and triggered new displacement. Heavy shelling was reported in parts of Tripoli and shelling also hit residential areas in Tajoura and struck an ambulance near Misrata, killing a paramedic.
He said it was the eighth attack on health operations this year.
Despite Guterres' appeal for a global COVID-19 ceasefire, Haq said about 3,700 people have fled their homes in the Abusliem District of the capital in the last few weeks because of the hostilities.
Also, more than 2 million people, including 600,000 children, who live in Tripoli and surrounding towns and cities, have suffered from water cuts for more than a week, he said. The water cuts have coincided with a serious power outage in the western region.
The humanitarian coordinator for Libya, Yacoub El Hillo, said that water should never be used as a pressure card nor as a weapon of war, especially now when Libya is fighting the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the spokesman said.