UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations is expressing concern over the reported cut-off of water to the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
“Yesterday, an armed group stormed Tripoli’s main water distribution station and has reportedly closed the water valves supplying Tripoli and other cities in the northwest of the country, including Gharyan and Al Zawayih, potentially affecting some two million people and their access to water,” U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters on Monday.
He said some of Tripoli’s districts are already experiencing low water pressure and the full impact of the cutoff is expected to be felt in the next two days unless the valves are re-opened.
Since April 4, areas in and around Libya’s capital have been turned into battlefields as General Khalifa Haftar, who holds sway in the country’s east, moved west on Tripoli in a bid to take control of it from the U.N.-backed Presidential Council and Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. A U.N. call for a Ramadan truce has failed to materialize.
The U.N. says more than 78,000 people have been displaced by the fighting.
The water supply to Tripoli was already precarious, as maintenance staff at the Great Man-Made River Project facility had been evacuated because of the ongoing fighting.
Humanitarians are trying to meet needs in affected areas, trucking water in and assisting with water purification.