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January 14, 2015

Aid Groups Warn of Looming Humanitarian Crisis in Libya

Three years after the fall of Muammar el-Qaddafi, plunging oil prices and intensifying internal conflicts are bringing basic services in Libya to the brink of collapse, aid charities tell the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Fighting between Islamist militias and forces allied with the country's internationally recognized government has uprooted more than 450,000 people, and plummeting oil revenues are stretching the government's ability to pay salaries and run hospitals and utilities.

Antoine Grand, head of the Red Cross Libya delegation, said fuel, water, and power shortages are frequent, and hospitals are short of medical supplies and losing foreign workers. Many international groups pulled out of the country last summer when rebel group Libya Dawn set up an alternative government in Tripoli, and United Nations-backed peace talks have been delayed. The opening of new front lines in the conflict could have "heavy humanitarian consequences," Mr. Grand warned.