News / Africa

Children Paying Huge Price In Libyan Conflict

Children sit in the back of an open-air truck as they flee Brega during an exchange of fire with pro-Gadhafi forces, in Libya, April 4, 2011
Children sit in the back of an open-air truck as they flee Brega during an exchange of fire with pro-Gadhafi forces, in Libya, April 4, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Schlein

The head of UNICEF's operations in Libya says four months into the Libyan crisis, children and women are beginning to pay a huge price.  He says the situation is still manageable, but warns the situation for women and children will worsen the longer the conflict continues.

The United Nations Children’s Fund says the Libyan conflict is seriously disrupting children’s lives and normal routines. It says schools are closed. In the capital, Tripoli, children are traumatized by the continuing shelling by NATO coalition forces. And children throughout the country are suffering from the loss of their parents, relatives and friends.

Unfortunately, UNICEF’s Libya Response Team Leader, Pierre Poupard, said his agency and others can do little to help them because they have very limited access to many parts of the country.

He said UNICEF is particularly concerned about landmines. He said most of the mines are being laid by Moammar Ghadafi's forces around Tripoli, Misrata and other government controlled areas. They also exist in the opposition stronghold of Eastern Benghazi.

Poupard said that so far the casualties are relatively small. The International Committee of the Red Cross reports 13 children have been killed by landmines. He said this probably is an underestimation, however, and the number of casualties is likely to grow.

“We know that the children in the East part of the country are playing with those things," said Poupard. "They take that like trophies. They say, going back home, 'look dada, this small piece of metal has not exploded.' They just wanted to play with that because they do not know.”  

Poupard notes Libya is a middle-income country. Levels of poverty are not as dire as in such places as Ivory Coast or Haiti. As a consequence, he said most people still have the means to support themselves and are not in need of massive humanitarian assistance. He said the physical condition of children is still good.

“We have visited several hospitals all over the country, including in the west part of the country -Tripoli - but also in Misrata, in Benghazi, Ajdabiya, Nalut and so on," he said. "I can tell you, not one single case of malnutrition. That is important to mention. It means that coping mechanisms after four months are still working.”

He warns, though, the longer the conflict goes on, there is likely to be a disruption of those social services. Poupard said people will run out of basic food and basic services and will need international assistance.  

He said the quality of water in Libya is still good, although chemicals to keep the water clean and spare parts to maintain the water system are needed. And Poupard points up that medical supplies and vaccines are beginning to run out.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid