TRIPOLI, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- Concerns about water shortage in Libya are mounting due to climate change and vandalism of major supply systems, the United Nations Humanitarian Office (UNOCHA) said Thursday.
"Recent heatwaves across Libya, amidst acute power cuts and the rapid spread of COVID-19, as well as continuous damage to the water system and the drying of the Wadi Kaam Dam pose acute threats to people's lives while time is running out to act," the UN body said in a statement.
"We are extremely worried about extreme weather and climate change in Libya at a scale that people and the humanitarian and development communities cannot help manage," said Justin Brady, UNOCHA Head of Office for Libya.
Repeated attacks on the Great Man-Made River, a network of pipes supplying 60 percent of all fresh water used in Libya, are threatening national water security, the statement warned.
Recent years have seen armed groups cut off the network several times to extort political concessions.
The Wadi Kaam Dam, once holding about 33 million cubic meters of water, has dried up due to the ever-warming climate, affecting farms and projects directly dependent on it for irrigation, it added.
Noting that disrupted supplies and drying reservoirs are just a few visible scenarios of the crisis, Brady called on the international community to take action now.
Otherwise, "we are putting millions of lives at immediate risk of losing access to safe water," he warned.