TRIPOLI, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya Maria Ribeiro on Tuesday called for the protection of internally displaced people (IDPs) in the town of Tawergha in northern Libya.
"The UN Humanitarian organizations and partners in Libya are deeply concerned about the situation faced by Tawergha men, women and children who are unable to return home and currently living in makeshift-tented settlements with precarious conditions in Qararat al-Qataf and Hwara," Ribeiro said in a statement.
She said hundreds of people have been stuck in open areas with difficult weather conditions without access to basic services for over three weeks. Their safe and dignified return should not be delayed any further and Tawerghans should not be held hostage to the political crisis in the country.
"The Libyan authorities have the primary responsibility to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to IDPs," and "the UN stands ready to support these efforts," said Ribeiro.
The return of Tawerghans, which was scheduled on February 1, was halted after armed groups from nearby Misurata District denied them entrance and Misurata city demanded the postponement of the return a day earlier.
During the 2011 uprising, some residents of Tawergha allied with the forces of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi against the rebels in Misurata. They fled to other cities in Libya after Gaddafi's regime was toppled.