Charities launch crisis appeal

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Children lean out of a car window as Libyan anti-government protesters demonstrate in Nalut, Libya (AP)

Charities are appealing for millions in donations as concern grows for the welfare of children in crisis-hit Libya.

Save the Children says it cannot access western Libya but believes more than a million children are in serious danger because of the fighting.

Tom Godfrey, who is working for the charity at the Tunisian border, said: “No NGOs are going to western Libya at all. We can only speculate. We are under the impression that atrocities are happening there. The risk of violence to families and children is clear.”

He called for a “humanitarian corridor” to be opened so that the situation in western Libya could be assessed.

Mr Godfrey said the Tunisian border had seen mostly foreign men passing through to go home, but the prospect of women and children arriving to escape the violence would result in a “human crisis”.

“It has the potential to be extremely serious,” he added.

Save the Children launched an appeal for £1 million to fund its child protection, education and medical work in eastern Libya and prepare a wider response once aid agencies reach the rest of the country.

It is thought 700,000 children live in Tripoli, where the humanitarian situation remains unclear due to difficulties in gaining independent access to civilians.

Donations to the charity can be made by calling 0800 8148 148 or visiting www.savethechildren.org.uk/libya-appeal.

Unicef has also launched a crisis appeal which aims to raise £4.5 million to meet the humanitarian needs of women and children in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. The charity has teams on the ground in Tunisia and Egypt who are ready to provide support to an increasing number of children separated from their families. Donations can be made by telephoning 0800 037 9797 or via the website www.unicef.org.uk.

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