As fight for Liberian capital rages on UN relief official warns thousands

“If fighting continues over the weekend, thousands of Liberians could die,” said Ali Muktar Farah, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Monrovia.Clean water in Monrovia is in short supply following the destruction of the main water supply station in White Plains, and the city’s one million residents, plus the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) seeking refuge there, also face dangerous shortages of sanitation facilities, food and security.In addition, dead corpses need to be removed from the streets to avoid an epidemic, and humanitarian actors on the ground are asking the government to provide them with sites to carry out mass burials.Meanwhile, law and order has broken down completely, OCHA said. Looting, rape and harassment by militiamen have become common in areas far from the frontlines as the fighting rages on between government forces and the rebel Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) for control of the capital.“The fighters are reportedly raping and robbing people in their homes at night,” OCHA said, while stores in downtown Monrovia are being looted on a daily basis. “Lootings are often attended by sporadic gunfire to scare civilians away. People walking on the streets must properly hide their valuables to avoid them being snatch away by fighters.” read more