A ship carrying UNICEF life-saving supplies has reached the port of Misrata in western Libya.

"Children in Misrata need urgent protection," said Shahida Azfar, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. "This latest batch of supplies will provide for their basic needs, but their long term recovery will only begin when the fighting stops."

The supplies will benefit 15,000 to 25,000 people and include first aid kits, drinking water, water purification tablets, hygiene kits and recreational toys for children. They were delivered on a UNICEF-chartered boat that left Barcelona on 16 April.  

Two weeks ago, UNICEF delivered emergency surgical materials, obstetric surgical kits, midwifery kits and hygiene kits to Misrata. UNICEF has also been providing psychological support to children in the East.

Additional supplies are also available on the Tunisian and Egyptian borders to meet the needs of those who have fled the fighting inside Libya. To date, more than 500,000 people have fled Libya to neighbouring countries, bringing with them vulnerable children.

In Misrata and in other areas affected by the fighting in Libya, humanitarian access is still a major concern and UNICEF has called for safe, unfettered access to the populations in need.