UNICEF responds to the emerging water crisis in Libyan capital

Since the beginning of the conflict, power cuts and fuel shortages have put the primary distributor of potable water in Libya, at risk of failing to meet the country’s water needs. UNICEF is working with the Libyan authorities to facilitate an assessment of water wells, review urgent response options and identify alternatives for water sources. Currently, a total of some five million liters of water is being procured by UNICEF from neighboring countries to be trucked and shipped to Tripoli in the coming days.

NEW YORK (August 29, 2011) — UNICEF has delivered 23,000 bottles of water for the emergency use in Tripoli as the situation is expected to worsen in the capital of Libya. An additional 90,000 bottles of water are due to arrive today.

Currently, a total of some five million liters of water is being procured by UNICEF from neighboring countries to be trucked and shipped to Tripoli in the coming days.

“UNICEF is responding to the immediate needs in Tripoli, but we remain extremely concerned about the situation should there be a shortage of water in the coming days. This could turn into an unprecedented health epidemic,” said Christian Balslev-Olesen, UNICEF Libya Head of Office

A UNICEF technical team is now working with the Libyan authorities to facilitate an assessment of water wells, review urgent response options and identify alternatives for water sources.

“The current situation is the absolute worst-case scenario, and a swift resumption of water supplies is critical," added Bolaslev-Olesen.

Since the beginning of the conflict, power cuts and fuel shortages have put the Great Manmade River Authority, the primary distributor of potable water in Libya, at risk of failing to meet the country’s water needs.

About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian aid organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health and immunizations, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency and disaster relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.

UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from 13 million in 1990 to 8.1 million in 2009. But still, 22,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood.

For additional information, please contact:
Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, (m) 646.428.5010, smasur@unicefusa.org