UNICEF deplores vandalism of Libya’s water systems

FILE PHOTO: The transport of pipe segments for the Great Manmade River in the Sahara desert, Libya, during the 1980s: a network of pipes that supplies water from the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System, a fossil aquifer in the Sahara Desert of Libya. The Great Manmade River is the world's largest irrigation project. UNICEF has condemned repeated attacks on the water system by assailants. (Creative Commons / Jaap Berk)
FILE PHOTO: The transport of pipe segments for the Great Manmade River in the Sahara desert, Libya, during the 1980s: a network of pipes that supplies water from the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System, a fossil aquifer in the Sahara Desert of Libya. The Great Manmade River is the world’s largest irrigation project. UNICEF has condemned repeated attacks on the water system by assailants. (Creative Commons / Jaap Berk)

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Sunday condemned vandalism of Libya’s water supply systems.

“UNICEF deplores vandalizing water systems which cut off children and their families from water, increasing the likelihood of water-borne diseases spreading in the affected areas,” UNICEF said in a statement.

According to UNICEF, several acts of vandalism affected the water supply to a number of Libyan cities over the past few days.

“When access is cut off, children are often forced to rely on unsafe sources, which increases their risks of contracting diseases, especially in very young children,” said Cristina Brugiolo, UNICEF Deputy Special Representative to Libya.

UNICEF said that assailants’ repeated attacks on the Man-Made River’s main systems threatens the water security of the entire country and puts millions of lives at immediate risk of losing access to safe water.

The Man-Made River, the largest water supplier in Libya, provides 60 percent of all freshwater used in the country.

UNICEF called on national and international partners to make the pressing issue of protecting the water infrastructure a priority and step up security measures including the potential deployment of civil forces at the well fields.

“The urgent allocation of necessary resources to carry out maintenance will ensure continuity of adequate water supply and sanitation services,” UNICEF said.