UNICEF has expressed deep concern at the continuing hostilities in Libya and their impact on children.

"The current fighting in Libya is putting children at high risk," said Shahida Azfar, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. "Their right to education, play, health and even survival are under serious threat."

Schools have reportedly been closed for over six weeks, depriving children of learning and affecting their well-being.

Thousands of people in the conflict areas have been displaced from their homes, and there are concerns that they are experiencing shortages of food and have limited access to basic services.

The number of workers and their families who have fled to neighbouring countries is increasing, and there are now 650 children in the transit camps in southern Tunisia and 450 in the Salloum border crossing in Egypt.

UNICEF is providing humanitarian assistance to the populations stranded at the border in the areas of water, sanitation, hygiene, health, psychosocial support and early childhood development.

In Libya, working with partners on the ground, UNICEF has distributed emergency health kits containing medicines, medical supplies and basic medical equipment.

But many more funds are required to meet the needs of those affected by the Libya crisis. "UNICEF urges all our donors to help us make sure that children affected by the situation in Libya receive all the support they deserve," Azfar said.

A newborn Somali baby © UNICEF/NYHQ2011-0481/Marta Ramoneda
A newborn Somali baby sleeps in her mother's arms at a field hospital in a transit camp near the Tunisian border with Libya. © UNICEF/NYHQ2011-0481/Marta Ramoneda